Over a long time, experts in the auto industry have established a tradition where they snap up the latest technologies to see what they can do for cars. It is fair to say that the results have been resounding.
While we have not yet scaled the dizzying heights showcased in auto science fiction, we are at a good place in terms of what technology has done for cars over the last few decades.
Below are important takeaways on how ground-breaking innovations have shaped the auto industry in the past and will continue to do so further in 2017.
1. Gesture control mechanisms
Conventional cars require a hands-on approach at all times. This is especially difficult if you are holding the wheel with both hands and have to sort of reach across the dashboard and grab something. The problem has however been solved by the introduction of gesture control technologies that allow you to simply wave your hand if you want to do something.
Gesture control systems simply pick up your body motion signals and translate this accordingly. The technology is particularly popular with the BMW-7 series.
2. Flying cars
Those who have been looking at the industry for years now know that engineers have always been fascinated by the idea of the flying car. It was tried back in the past, but the Curtiss Autoplane, as was known in the day, did not really fly-it just hopped around.
However, consistent attempts have made this dream a reality; we have a car that can actually fly. The AeroMobil 3.0, dubbed the car of the future, can fly around the world and actually squeezes itself into the tiniest of gas stations. Other flying cars have been fronted by Dutch company Pal-V as well as Beyond Roads, a USA-based auto entity.
3. Car diagnosis and tracking technology
Black Box tracking is a complex technology that beams information from specific cars and transmits it to passengers, the authorities as well as independent road assistant organizations. It has always been seen as complex approach to car tracking and diagnosis but is quickly catching on around the world.
There is speculation in the auto industry that future cars will need to have this technology installed to avoid legal and insurance carrier-imposed penalties.
4. Self-driving cars
The idea that a car can drive itself was once seen as scandalous. However, Google has not relented in its efforts to put a driver-less car out there. The car uses computer software, advanced lenses and sophisticated cameras to map out its environment and navigate roads. And, not just Google, the industry of self-driving cars has gone so big that giants like Tesla and Faraday Future are working relentlessly in making the dream a reality.
There have been glitches with this vehicle, with Google drivers manually intervening to avoid crashing from time to time. Tesla also has been a part of some accidents.
Despite these challenges, one cannot help but feel that we are on the cusp of some real revolution. If the engineers over at Google manage to get this one right, we will all avoid the risks of human driving, which is error-prone and leads to thousands of fatalities every year. You will see less congested roads, fewer traffic police officers and a greater ease of movement.
5. V2V communication
The concept of vehicle to vehicle(V2V) communication is simply refreshing. There are now ways through which one vehicle can communicate with another on the road, even if they are not traveling in the same trajectory or geographical location. Automobiles can also communicate with the road or objects ahead of them.
The goal at the end is to facilitate the movement of people and goods from place to place with little in the way of hassle. Here is a simple scenario in which V2V communication would help: You are navigating a bending road and up ahead, two vehicles have just rammed into each other.
Your car gets a message from the car in the front that there is potential risk in negotiating the bend, and the vehicle automatically hits the brakes.
Long gone are the times when ground-breaking technology in the auto industry would be portrayed as a distant, futuristic dream in Star Wars episodes; it is now a strong reality. And with some serious money going into research and development, one has the feel that what we see is merely the tip of the iceberg.