The automotive industry has always embraced new technology. GPS, anti lock breaks, and fuel efficient hybrid engines are all commonplace nowadays, but what does the future hold for automotive design?
The Search For Cleaner Fuels
Whilst hybrid cars do produce far less emissions that their petrol or diesel counterparts, the fact that they depend on the internal combustion engine to recharge their batteries means that they can never truly achieve zero emission status. Toyota are currently working on an electric car that uses Hydrogen to generate electricity and keep the batteries topped up, this means that the car produces no emissions since heat and water are the only by products.
Vehicle To Vehicle Technology
Imagine driving home from your weekly supermarket visit and as you cruise along at 40mph, your car suddenly applies the breaks on it's own. It does this to avoid colliding with a vehicle that has just pulled out into your path, potentially saving the lives of the drivers and passengers of both vehicles. This kind of hypothetical scenario could soon become reality with Vehicle to Vehicle technology that is currently being tested by Ford. The same technology may also be used to allow your car to communicate with traffic signals and road signs. Experts predict that this technology could reduce road traffic accidents by up to 80%.
Augmented Reality HUD
Hollywood has long since had a love affair with augmented reality, from Terminator's visual overlay that's capable of determining whether a particular individual is a target or threat, to Robocop's visor which grants the ability to plot bullet ricochet trajectory and identify the crimes a scum bag is wanted for at a glance. BMW has already introduced a visual windscreen overlay in some of it's more prestigious vehicles, and continues to work on developing this technology to provide even more features. Vehicles in front that slow down may be highlighted in a flashing box to bring your attention to the hazard, and notifications of upcoming services and petrol stations could be displayed on screen as your vehicle approaches the junction.
Solar Car Panels
The problem with electric cars is that Lithium-ion batteries are heavy, take a long time to charge, and take up a lot of space. Whilst a consortium of nine car manufacturers are currently working together to develop and test car body panels capable of storing an electrical charge, Toyota has gone one step further and is working to develop solar car body panels that store the suns energy, if successful this would mean zero emissions motoring with no fuel costs, accident repair could become far more costly though, since the solar car body panels are unlikely to be cheap to replace.