Smart cars

The Future of Cars #5: Smart Cars

Smart Cars. No – we’re not talking about those micro two-seater run-arounds with 0.7 litre engines by Daimler AG. We’re talking about the quick-witted intelligence type of smart.

Most people nowadays have smart phones which integrate many different components and features to help make life a little bit easier. I’m sure you’ve even heard of LG’s new era of smart fridges. And as technology gains more intelligence, it’s only a short amount of time until we reach the era of Smart Cars and here’s what we predict the features will include;

Connecting Devices

Your car could be a universal hub having it’s 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, and when you travel within a certain distance of your house, it could turn on your central heating for you or 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!).

Emergency Services

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.

Smart Headlights

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!

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. Say 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 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.

All of these features can happen without the driver needing to enter any personal details about themselves or entering a destination. Which 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, this will lead to our lives being almost completely integrated with technology everywhere we go. Which means that whilst today can get away from everything by turning of your technology, in the near future it may not be so easy!


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