The first car was manufactured in 1983. Automobile technology has evolved considerably since then.
Over the next couple of years, manufacturers will be releasing a number of new features. Some of these features are meant to make a vehicle safer, while others are intended for better convenience.
Here are some of the biggest car technology changes.
Are you looking forward to the days when you no longer need to drive a vehicle? Wouldn't it be great to have a car that can drive itself?
Karl Brauer from Forbes states that we will be closer to this goal by 2020. It will take a long time before cars can drive without any supervision. However, they'll soon be able to operate in areas with low population density with minimal driver oversight.
However, drivers will have less control in the future. Some automatic cars can already make braking decisions, even if the driver is pressing the gas pedal.
There'll be a lot of debate in the future about balancing the autonomy of vehicles against the discretion of drivers. This won't be sorted out anytime soon, because many cars are still responsible for people getting tickets.
Electronic Sun Visors
The sun often disrupts a driver's vision, which significantly increases the risk of accidents. According to one study, sun glare contributes to about 3000 driving accidents every year. Unfortunately, visors are often nearly useless, because the position of the sun changes throughout the day.
New electronic visors will be far more effective. They will be able to track the position of the sun relative to the driver's eyes.
Rear Mounted Radar
Few people think about how dangerous parking lots are. However, about 20% of all traffic accidents occur on them. Automobile manufacturers are looking for new solutions to minimize parking lot accidents.
Rear mounted radar technology will play in important role. This new technology allows drivers to sense objects behind them. It can significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur while backing up.
Estimated ETA Navigation System
Are your children constantly bugging you to know how long it will take to reach your destination? There will be a new tool on the market in the next couple of years.
The new technology will have a visual navigation system to help people track their route. It will also provide a verbal estimated arrival time on the screen.
Of course, this technology may have unintended consequences. Children may become even more impatient if they see how long the triple will actually take. We will just have to wait and see how it plays out.
Pedestrian Detection Night Vision
Vehicles have been equipped with night vision features since the beginning of the century. However, the benefits of it have been mediocre at best. The problem is that big vision was primarily used to identify road marks and other vehicles.
New cars will be equipped with night vision systems that help them detect moving pedestrians. Since pedestrians are far more likely to be struck by a vehicle in the evening, this will hopefully reduce those accidents considerably.
The technology has been in the works for a while now, but has yet to reach the market. Nuno Vasconcelos, an electrical engineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, conducted a study on pedestrian detection technology earlier this year. He said engineers faced a number of barriers in the past, but have recently made ample progress overcoming them.
"We're aiming to build computer vision systems that will help computers better understand the world around them," Vasconcelos said. "No previous algorithms have been capable of optimizing the trade-off between detection accuracy and speed for cascades with stages of such different complexities. In fact, these are the first cascades to include stages of deep learning. The results we're obtaining with this new algorithm are substantially better for real-time, accurate pedestrian detection."
Biometric Vehicle Access
Vehicle thefts have always been a major concern. Data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports shows a vehicle is stolen in the United States every 46 seconds. New biometric technology should help minimize the risks.
Ford applied for a biometric technology patent in 2012 and was finally granted it in 2015. The technology has yet to be unveiled, but the company is confident it will transform the car industry.
While the market is very new, research from Wiseguyreports.com predicts it will grow significantly by 2020. Here is an excerpt from their paper Global Automotive Biometric Vehicle Access System Market 2016-2020.
"Increasing adoption of automatic vehicle identification system in transit junctions will be a noteworthy trend in this market. Threats from organized crime and the increasing number of mass scale terrorist threats encouraged governments and law enforcement agencies across the world to implement advanced automatic vehicle identification (AVI) systems that not only identify the vehicle but also the credentials of the driver."