The Future Of Smart Cars
Mike uses his turning signal to let the car behind him know he is about to switch lanes. Surprisingly, I see something happen that I have never seen before. The display in his Honda automatically turns on and gives Mike a live feed of the all of the blind spots around his car.
After he takes a quick look at the screen to make sure the lane is clear we make a perfect lane change. As soon as we merge the display goes back to its original clock and forecast screen.
This was pretty much my first time seeing and experiencing just a small taste of what is referred to today as smart car technology. I had a very cool flashback sitting in that passenger seat. The experience reminded me of one of my favorite all time Tv shows, Knight Rider. As we all know, Knight Rider is the show where David Hasselhoff stars as Michael Knight. The reason I had this flashback was because of Knight's sidekick, KITT. KITT is a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am who had just as much of the spotlight on him as David Hasselhoff himself. One of the coolest things KITT would do in almost every episode was switch to autopilot mode. This gave the Hoff the time he needed to do more important things like fight off bad guys while KITT dodged traffic.
The reason the car was able to do this was because of the artificial intelligence computer module it had incorporated into its already advanced frame. This car had a wide variety of futuristic special features. It had the autopilot feature, turbo boosts and Micro scanners which allowed the car to sense everything around it. The most crucial part of the car however, was probably the Microprocessor which was the key to allowing the car to communicate with humans, think and learn.
Back in those days, most of the viewers probably saw these special features as something completely out of a science fiction book. If they only knew the technology the cars of today would have.
Just sit back and imagine living in a world where there is more efficient object to object and machine to machine communication. In a world like this, everything would have to be wirelessly connected in order to make your daily life much easier and customized to your needs and preferences.
Ok, you can stop imagining now. Why? Well this technology already exists! Today's cars are full of technology that you might not even know exists. In addition to this, there is network of devices called The Internet of things or IoT which is helping advance these technologies even more. IoT is basically a network of machines, devices, buildings and vehicles which are equipped with special sensors that lets each and everyone of these share, analyze, exchange and even collect data.
One of the markets these networks have had a large impact in is the automotive industry. People seem to think that developing smart cars is only about creating cars that can drive themselves and avoid accidents, this is not the case. Smart cars could potentially reduce traffic problems while improving a city's overall transportation efficiency.
Even Google wants in on the action. Google has been pushing for driverless cars for a few years now. Driverless cars would allow them to increase their income by making technology specifically designed for these types of cars. They even made a list of some of the fun things you can do in one of google's driverless cars.
This type of technology, mixed with the connectivity that will be available through these wireless networks may change the way we view transportation all together. By giving these cars the ability to communicate with the roads and buildings around them roads could potentially become safer and more organized.
One of the biggest inconveniences we face as Americans is the traffic we encounter. On average, drivers spend 38 hours per year stuck in slow moving traffic. With our nation's population expected to rise, this could make the problem much worse.This technology has the potential of providing a solution before this larger population becomes a problem on the roads of America.
The World Health Organization has estimated that we deal with about 1.2 million road deaths per year worldwide. With smart car technology, these numbers could be brought down significantly within the first few months of implementation. The great thing about this is the large amount of car manufacturers who have decided to adopt this concept. Most of these companies are looking to provide fully autonomous and semi autonomous vehicles
One of the most obvious benefits of improving smart car technology is that it will help to decrease traffic related accidents and fatal deaths. Most major car manufactures have already joined the race to develop autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles which are controlled by computers. This should immediately reduce human error from the equation.
The advancements in sensors, cameras, computers and other technologies that are compatible with cars has helped companies like google make large improvements to their autonomous vehicles. The technology has advanced so much that most of these cars can speed up, overtake, switch lanes and even slow down on their own, just like KITT was able to do in Knight Rider.
Lower Car Insurance Costs
Because of the added security technology is bringing to the automotive industry, insurance prices are expected to fall. Some of these feature include door handles that are only visible when the driver is nearby with his keys and biometric technology. Biometric technology would give the car the ability to recognize the driver by scanning eyes, heart rates and fingerprints. This technology will instantly lower theft rates regardless of the country or city the car is in.
These reductions in car insurance prices can already be seen in some parts of the world and these trends are expected to continue. These saving are not exclusively for new cars though, used car insurance is also expected to go down in price.
The Future is bright
Smart car technology cannot be limited to self driving cars. Even though most of the technology being incorporated into these vehicles is still relatively new, they are expected to advance rather quickly. With these advancements we should see a staggering reduction in traffic deaths per year, car thefts, car performance and even more efficient traffic systems. I guess you can say the future is looking bright for the automotive industry.