No, we’re not talking about those micro two seater run-arounds with 0.7 litre engines by Daimler AG. Most people nowadays have Smart Phones that integrate many different things to help make life that little bit easier. We’ve even heard about LG producing ‘Smart Internet Fridges’. It will only be a short amount of time until we reach an era of Smart Cars which will be born from the same ideas.
Your car could be a universal hub having its own internet connection using 3G or 4G. You are likely to be able to use your car as a WiFi hotspot for other devices such as your smart phone or tablet, when you travel within a certain distance of your house it could turn your central heating on for you and it could even let you know you are out of milk when you are near the supermarket (if you have a smart fridge for it to talk to!).
When an accident happens in a car, the occupants are not always able to call the emergency services. A new system could see your car automatically contacting them for help with either a voice call or simply sending your GPS location so that help can be instantly sent, directly to you.
Some cars today, such as BMW, already come with smart windscreen wipers that detect when it is raining and automatically wipe the screen, and detect when to turn your full beams on and off in the dark. Smart headlights will also adjust the brightness depending on light levels, weather conditions and other factors, meaning being blinded by other motorists could soon be a thing of the past too!
Cars That Learn
As well as being fully connected to the other aspects of your life, your car could even start to learn how you live. So it is Monday morning and your car has learnt that you leave home at 7:30am for work, the car will check the traffic reports and advise you if there are any delays along your normal route with road conditions and also weather updates. This could include the car realising it is cold outside and so the car starts 5 minutes earlier with the heaters on medium, exactly how you like it. Then it will switch to your normal radio station or music that you normally listen to.
Ford are also developing a system for their hybrid cars that will learn your routines enabling the full economy potential of the car, switching over to run on pure electricity when it knows you can get home to a charging point rather than using petrol or diesel because you’re not sure if you’ll make it home otherwise.
This can all happen without the driver even needing to enter any personal details about themselves or entering a destination. This brings up concerns over the privacy of the driver as an individual, however a report from March 2013 shows that car manufacturers are not sharing any personally identifiable location based information of drivers.
With these new capabilities, coupled with the V2V (vehicle to vehicle communication) as explained in the first part of this series ‘The Future of Cars’, this will lead to our lives being almost completely integrated with technology everywhere we go. If today you like to get away from everything by simply turning your mobile phone off, it may not be so easy in the near future!