First phones, then television, now cars. The word “smart” is now becoming a prefix to all of our most valued and beloved devices. The fact that automobiles may soon be considered “devices” may be a stretch of the imagination for some people. But in the coming years, it won’t seem so far fetched after all. With so many new conveniences and revolutionary changes coming to our vehicles, we’ve put together an overview of the best additions cars have received recently.
Keyless Engine Access
Losing one’s keys, arguably the most common frustration of owning a car, may soon be a thing of the past. Keyless technology takes advantage of close-range sensors equipped onto your key fob when it comes within the designated proximity of your car. With this you can lock or unlock your car doors with the push of a button, and can even start your engine.
This eliminates the fumbling and clumsy searching for one’s keys in the bottom of their coat pockets or their purses. As long as the fob is on your person, you’ll always be ready to start your car with ease.
Speech & Voice Recognition
While the keyless fob technology seems like a major convenience to some, it doesn’t completely solve the problem of theft that regular keys still present. If one’s belongings, including their key sensor, is stolen then that could end up in a stolen vehicle. But how does one steal a voice? With speech recognition, you can simply command your car to turn on or shut off, as well as operate other basic functions like the radio or the air conditioning.
This is a major convenience considering how many more by-laws are cracking down on drivers who take their hands off the steering wheel to operate their cell phones. Combine voice recognition with the ever growing list of smart app integration software being churned out by Apple and Android, and soon you’ll be able to operate your smartphone inside of your smart car without breaking any laws.
With voice recognition software, no thief will be able to single-handedly commandeer your car, making it an invaluable security feature as well.
USB Port Integration
USB inputs being installed inside of cars has been a gripe for just about everyone ever since phones started using them to recharge their batteries. Much like cup holders a decade or so ago, USB ports will become the new mandatory attachment or accessory for many people once it catches on. Not only will you finally be able to charge your phone outside of your home with ease, you’ll also be able to plugin flash drives and play whatever soundtrack you wish without the hassle of searching for a USB converter or dongle that’s compatible with your car.
Blind Spot Monitoring and Detection
The notorious phenomenon called the blind spot is said to be responsible for thousands of severe accidents every year. With vehicles being installed with sensors and alarms to tell drivers when their blind spot is approaching contact or collision with another object, the rate of road accidents could be dramatically decreased.
While much “smartcar” technology that’s being hyped up these days is geared towards apps and functions that emphasize convenience, sensors designed for blind spot detection could potentially save people from having headaches with their insurance companies, as well as save lives.
Adaptive Cruise Control Systems
Much like how USB ports will become the new cup holders, technology like dynamic cruise control and blind spot detection will be the digital or electronic equivalent of the airbag. Pre-collision systems are constantly monitoring the surrounding environment of the car to make sure the risk of accidents is greatly reduced. Some cars will have a function that will allow these systems to automatically engage the breaks if it appears that the driver is not aware or responding to the perceived threats.
Adaptive cruise control may be the best example we have yet of these kinds of protective safeguards. The driver pre-selects a speed in miles or kilometers per hour and the car adjusts to the preset minimum and maximum values assigned to it. If the gap closes between the vehicle and another in front of it, it will automatically slow its speed below the maximum setting and return to it once the gap widens back to a normal range. This is essentially the precursor to self-driving cars, the big revolution everyone is anxiously waiting for to see if it becomes a flop or a hit (no pun intended).
The speeds that can be set are currently limited to around 25-90 mph, but in the future this scale will only continue to widen.
Will Smartcar Technology Really Affect Us So Much?
With many large corporations investing into more in-car technologies such as Apple, Samsung, Nvidia, Google, Amazon and many car manufacturers themselves like Ford, Honda, General Motors and BMW, the race to create the most technologically up to date and advanced cars is well under way. Many studies have already speculated that by the year 2030 over 33% of all miles driven will be done by self-driving vehicles. Microsoft is currently working on a service to allow users to access their emails and inboxes on the road. Many companies are working diligently to incorporate popular software and apps into smartcars, such as search engines and weather channels.
Just like with television sets and phones, new technologies slowly made their way in and became standard, commonplace features of these devices. It could be only a matter of a few years before USB ports, blind spot detection and self-driving software become as essential to the definition of the word “car” as steering wheels, windshields and gas pedals.