Coming soon: at a car dealership near you!
Try this: go to Google, and look at a photo of central London in 1901. You’ll see streets crammed with horses and buggies (and people!). Now do the same for 1911, just a decade later: you’ll see the occasional motorised vehicle among the buggies. Finally, repeat the exercise for 1914. You’ll almost certainly see no trace of horse-powered transport. Just automobiles. In a mere three years, the motor industry went from nowhere to becoming the dominant species, transport-wise. It was an explosion in motor technology that continued to the mid-20th century.
Then what happened? Well, not all that much, really. The next five or six decades brought few fundamental changes in car technology, or the way cars were manufactured, with the result that there wasn’t a great deal of radical progress in the cars themselves. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to call the Ford Aspire ‘progress’. If you are, you’re one of a rare breed.
But, in the past decade or two, things have taken off again. Advances in digital, and other, technologies, are making possible things which, just a few years back, were the stuff of science fiction. Examples? Well, there are lots. Some, such as driverless cars, you’ll already know about, as they’re the topic of much discussion in the press and other media. But there are some, perhaps less far-reaching in their implications, but still interesting, that you may not know about. We thought we’d point out a few which are likely to arrive very soon.
Such as, for instance, Alexa-like personal assistants that let you interact with your car through voice command. So, if you’re (for example) driving and looking for a parking space, all you have to do is say “find parking,” and your car will automatically take you to the closest car park based on your programmed preferences (e.g. cheapest, safest) and then pay the fee with your credit card.
Or what about more route options on maps? We’re all familiar with ‘quickest’ and ‘shortest’, but soon you’ll be able to select options such as ‘least polluted.’ If you’re, for instance, someone who suffers from chronic asthma, this could be a real benefit. Other possibilities include ‘safest’ and ‘most scenic’.
And then there’s ‘Augmented Reality’ dashboards. Many BMW owners will already be familiar with these as they’re already a reality in some BMWs, but industry analysts predict that 70% of new cars will have them by 2020. What are they? In case you’re not sure, AR dashboards project information such as speed and directions onto a part of the windshield in the user’s field of vision — so there’s no need to take your eyes off the road. It’s tried and tested technology in aircraft, and soon car drivers will have it too.
Fancy having a personal doctor in your car? Soon you’ll be able to. Ford has already developed an electrocardiograph that monitors heart function through sensors in the seat, and the company is working on in-car technology to monitor glucose levels of people with diabetes. People with heart disease and diabetes already monitor their health at home this technology will enable them to do it from the car.
Talking of personalisation? What about creating your own car? It’s not as left-field as you may think. In fact, 3D printing technology makes it a real possibility. Companies such as Arizona-based Local Motors work with pre-determined engine types, and then 3D print cars on top of those engines. The customer can choose from a wide range of features to produce a highly personal vehicle design. OK, so they won’t be cheap at first, but very products based on new and advanced technologies are. Give it time.
If you’re in an income bracket that doesn’t quite support your own 3D-printed car, but you still want something stylish and different, why not head over to DesperateSeller.co.uk and look at our car suggestion tool? It’ll guide you through your best options for your budget.