How Technology of the Next 5 Years Will Change Auto Travel

Over the past 40 years or so, automobile technology has not really changed all that much. Sure, there have been some major improvements such as the widespread use of power steering, anti-lock brakes, and airbags; but advancements such as these have generally been small and spread out over many years. However, this trend of slow advancement in car technology is beginning to change. With companies such as Tesla, BMW, and Ford paving the way for innovation in the automotive industry, the public can expect to see a few incredible new technologies begin to become commonplace within the next 5 years.

Autonomous Vehicles

Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated technologies coming to the forefront of the automotive industry is the self-driving car. A vehicle equipped with self-driving technology would ideally be able to detect environmental cues and navigate by itself without any human control. However, the current state of self-driving technology does not allow for such autonomy. Tesla’s Autopilot and Google’s Self-Driving car are two of the frontrunners in the push toward self-driving vehicles, but even their systems are not quite ready for fully autonomous travel. There are still bugs to be worked out in order to prevent crashes and the cars still require human oversight under certain conditions.

Within the next 5 years, however, a vehicle capable of driving itself under all conditions without human input might be introduced. With self-driving technology perfected, the roads would become much safer to travel on. The hyper-awareness of these cars due to their 360-degree camera views and far superior reaction time could reduce car accidents by up to 90% and save up to 300,000 lives per decade. Needless to say, self-driving cars would permanently change road travel as we know it.

Active Window Displays

Heads up displays, or HUDS, have actually been around for a while. They are often used in the military in jet fighters and other vehicles to provide quick access to important information without having to look down at a dashboard. While they have been used in civilian vehicles before, new advances in screen and window technologies are making it possible to add more information along with more clarity and vibrancy to window displays. Perhaps the most important benefit to this advancement is that it allows drivers to view all driving information without looking down and taking their eyes off the road.

A potential use for this technology would be to display the GPS navigation system on the windshield. This would keep the driver focused on the road ahead while still providing directions. It is possible that the GPS will eventually be able to highlight the lane that the driver needs to be in and use graphics to indicate a turn that needs to be made. In regards to the real-world impact of this technology, displays such as these will allow for greater road safety by keeping the driver’s eyes on the road and will also make the use of GPS much more convenient.

Active Health Monitoring

Researchers at the Ford Motor Company have found that drivers with cardiovascular disease are 23% more likely to be involved in an automobile accident. As many would expect, having a heart episode while driving greatly increases the risk of causing a car accident. But what if there was a health monitoring system built into the car that would alert the driver or the authorities if they are about to experience an episode that would inhibit their ability to drive? The driver’s vital signs could be detected through the steering wheel or seat then be transmitted to the police or EMTs through a dispatch software telling the authorities where and when to intercept the driver.

This technology is actually being developed by both Ford and BMW and will likely improve road safety by preventing accidents caused by health problems. Combining this technology with self-driving systems could even allow the car to detect a health issue in the driver then pull over on its own and alert the authorities. This would not only save the lives of others on the road from potential accidents; it would also help sick drivers get the medical attention they need.

Within the next 5 years, many advancements in driving technology can be expected to arise and be improved upon. If automotive technology continues progressing the way it has been in recent years, road travel could become a much safer and more convenient form of transportation than it is today.

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