Buyers Guide: What’s next for vehicle technology?
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We’re seeing electric and hybrid vehicles entering our market at a rate of knots and filtering their way on to NZ roads, and that’s just scratching at the surface of vehicle technology.
Vehicle-integrated electronics are gearing towards safety assists and systems to minimise the impact of an accident or better yet — avoid them completely. Autonomous driving may well be the future, but for the meantime, here are some cool features we might see in the coming years.
Virtual side mirrors
There are some images circulating of the latest Audi electric e-tron prototype which show Audi has done away with the traditional door mirror in favour of cameras.
The image is displayed on small screens tucked into the corner of the front door area. This instantly improves vehicle aerodynamics and thus improves fuel economy, and could also reduce emissions.
Porsche has introduced a similar feature in an electric prototype called the Taycan. Small HUD (head up display) screens are fitted into the dashboard corners under the windscreen instead of side mirrors.
Some countries’ (including NZ’s) transport rules stipulate that a vehicle must have an external side mirror/mirrors, so there may be some rules which need to be relaxed in order for this to happen — just a small hitch.
Hands up if sometimes you feel like the voice recognition function is speaking another language. Thankfully this frustrating system might be getting better soon.
Car manufacturers like Hyundai are experimenting with voice recognition Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet capabilities and driver stress detection.
They’re calling it Intelligent Personal Cockpit, which has “multiple command recognition” whereby the system can recognise two separate commands of the driver in the same sentence and complete each task separately.
Imagine having a system like Siri® or Alexa® controlling all the functions inside your car, from music control (in-car and house) to lighting, to navigation updates. You could even turn your house lights on at night before you arrive home.
Wellness care is also possible. Sensors can monitor the driver’s heart rate for sudden changes and can even detect a driver’s stress level.
If required, the vehicle can provide access to online visual consultation with a doctor or simply turn on soothing music and dim the cabin lights for a more comfortable driving experience (road rage diffuser?)
We’ve heard of the term “connected” for cars, well now there is “hyper-connected”. Cars will be able to communicate with their surroundings in lightning speeds as they have more autonomous capability.
Not a new idea but something yet to reach mainstream vehicles. Biometric systems can use fingerprint, facial or voice recognition, and retina scanning as a way of obtaining vehicle entry or driver personalisation.
The systems can also recognise gestures, heartbeats, brain waves, stress, fatigue, eyelid movements, facial expressions and pulse rates to detect whether a driver is medically fit to drive.
While we wait for these exciting features, let’s just enjoy our playlists, yelling at the voice control that’s trying to call John Blue instead of Ian Green, while allowing the adaptive cruise control to steer and brake the car to get us safely from A to B.