How Automotive Technology Is Advancing at a Startling Rate

Audi R8

Everywhere we look nowadays, we see technology moving forward at an ever-increasing pace. It seems like new phones come out every other week, and technology that even science fiction authors wouldn’t have dreamed of sixty years ago is now commonplace. Who would have thought that cars will someday drive themselves? Or that we would have drones flying around and monitoring everything we do? There’s no doubt about it – we’re surrounded by advanced technology and we love it. Today’s most advanced vehicles have monster touchscreen dashboards, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so much more. It’s like having your very own computer incorporated in your car.

Cars of the future

Automotive technology is on the roll. Cars are more high-tech than they’ve ever been. But some people may not know what’s actually available in a modern car, or they may not fully grasp what a particular functionality, like automatic parking, allows them to do.

Even less well-known is what’s coming around the corner. Car manufacturers don’t typically take out ads on TV to broadcast what they’re researching to release 15 years from now, so most people remain ignorant of what car companies are planning to do with future models. This can be even more exciting than what is already out there, as each new advance reads more like science fiction than science fact.

Car-to-car communication

In this case, ‘conversation’ means two cars talking to each other via Dedicated Short Range Communications. The system broadcasts 1,000 feet or so around your car, exchanging data with other cars to help smooth the process of driving and make it easier to get around without getting into traffic accidents. The more cars there are to exchange information, the more effective the technology becomes. Once it reaches full dispersion, and everybody on the block has the technology, your car will know exactly what is going on around it; where all the other cars are, where they’ll be in ten seconds, and how to avoid crashing into them.

This means that a driver who’s distracted by a crying baby, by messing with the radio, or even by texting while at the wheel may still avoid getting into an accident, because the car can automatically correct mistakes in real-time that are made by the driver.

Digital mirrors

A decade or so ago, an electric car seemed like a pipe dream. Not so anymore. But that’s not all that this particular car – slated to enter production soon – brings to the table in terms of aggressive, progressive technology.

Audi installed the world’s first digital rearview mirror into its R18 racer. But coming soon, the R8 e-tron, a high-end electric car, will also feature the same technology. Neither the R18 nor the R8 possesses a rearview mirror. Instead, a camera installed into the back of the car does window duty, and actually offers a far wider range of vision than does a traditional mirror in the same place.

Portable LTE capabilities

This auto technology belongs to BMW, which is an innovator in the auto industry. Now, BMWs will be traveling LTE hotspots, and this comes in addition to a whole host of new technologies installed in future models, including a ‘write-in’ system on the car’s computer – passengers can ‘write’ letters with their fingers on a pad in the center console, and the car will recognize them, and provide audible verification.

Automatic High Beam Control

When redesigning the famous RX model, Lexus thought of adding a system that illuminates automatically. However, this is not the groundbreaking part. When approaching traffic, the high beam headlights dim automatically thanks to a camera installed in the rearview mirror. Mercedes Benz has improved Lexus’s technology. They’ve also added Adaptive Highbeam Assist, a system currently present in new E-Class models which doesn’t just switch between intensity beams, but additionally reacts “on its own” by lowering and increasing gradually the light distribution in traffic. And if that wasn’t enough already, the technology dims the intensity of the beams when driving sharp, and then re-engages it if there’s no other car in the front.

Today’s most advanced car performance parts are the key to safe driving. Who knows what we’ll see next in 5-10 years from now?

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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