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5 Automotive Technology Innovations to Look for in the Next 5 Years

November 9, 2018 | By |

More than 140 years have passed since the introduction of the modern internal combustion engine which has revolutionized the way we travel. Since then, the auto industry has seen many new innovations that have improved and help regulate the process of driving. Whether it be in the form of windshields (which weren’t introduced until 1904) or onboard navigation systems (such as OnStar), the innovations in the auto industries space have and will continue to improve the quality of driving.

BMW 7-Series Keyfob Valet

Like a gadget straight out of a James Bond movie, BMW has released a remote-control parking feature to their new line of 7 series. This technology utilizes an intelligent key fob that sports a sleek three-dimensional glass surface and aluminum clasps which perfectly matches its vehicle counterpart. Unlike a traditional key fob, the BMW 7 series’ intelligent key fob provides vehicle status and fuel level information on a 2.2-inch LCD screen. The main use for this intelligent key fob, however, is its remote-control parking feature. Users can position their car in front of a parking spot then use the key fob to propel the car forward or backward. This is especially helpful for those times there’s a parking spot available but no room for the passengers to open their door. What autonomous innovation will BMW come out with next?

Next Generation HUD

HUDs, otherwise known as head-up-displays, are transparent displays that present data without distracting the users from the task at hand. The first automotive head-up-display was introduced in 1988 by General Motors and was put on the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme making it the first production car to do so. Innovators have taken it to the next level nowadays and are starting to utilize the car’s windshield as a foundation for a HUD. These are known as active window displays and will make it so drivers don’t need to divert their eyes from the road to look at information such as GPS or music. These active window displays will also allow drivers to interact with apps in a hands-free way leading to less distracted driving.

Collision Preventing Airbags

Most if not all cars on the road today have some form of internal airbag system to reduce injury during a collision. What most cars don’t have, however, are EXTERNAL airbags that preemptively try to reduce the damage caused by a collision. Using sensors to determine when a crash is imminent, these external airbags will deploy underneath the car and, in conjunction with the brakes, stop a vehicle before a crash. The bags utilize a friction coating to help slow the car down and can actually double the stopping power you would normally have with just brakes. Mercedes is currently testing this innovative technology and we could see it introduced as early as 2020.

Biometric Vehicle Access

It’s honestly hard to believe that most cars on the road today don’t have some form of a biometric access system. If my $800 smartphone can have both facial recognition and a fingerprint scanner, why doesn’t my new $25,000 car? Not only would a key-less and key-fob-less entry be convenient to the consumer, but it would also help to deter unauthorized access and car thefts.

Real-Time Driver Health Monitoring

A common fear, particularly amongst the older generations, is befalling illness as one is operating a vehicle. During a medical emergency such as heart attack, stroke or seizure, the driver will likely be unable to control the vehicle enough to slow down, pull over in a safe location, and dial 911. Car manufacturers have begun exploring the possibility of adding a whole slew of monitors to help predict when one of these medical emergencies is going to happen. These include infrared sensors to check body temperatures, heart rate monitoring via conductive sensors on the steering wheel, and piezoelectric sensors in the seatbelt to check for breathing rates. If a medical emergency is detected the car could then safely pull over to the side of the road and send a message to 911 (assuming the vehicle has some autonomous capabilities).

While these Innovations seem very advanced and something you wouldn’t expect to see for decades, the technological advances made in the automotive field have enabled manufacturers to bring these innovations to the general public within the next five years.

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