Ever since they were invented over a hundred years ago, cars have been on the cutting edge of technology. It seems that every time you see a car commercial on TV, they’re announcing the addition of a new gadget or a new feature. And in today’s ever changing smart-technology world, the increase in innovations in cars seems to be exponential. Just in the past few years alone, we’ve seen cars with GPS systems, cars that are Bluetooth enabled, cars with satellite uplinks to OnStar and other 24/7 services, and cars that can parallel park themselves. One of the most important innovations in the car industry may be the huge jump in electric cars and hybrids that will save their owners money by conserving fuel, and save the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions. So what’s on call for 2013? Here’s a short list of the latest innovation we’ve compiled to show how cars are still one of the hottest places for innovation:
- The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) – As we mentioned above, high-tech literally is going mobile. The CUE is an advanced multimedia control systems that allows you to interact with infotainment, communication, navigation and personalization features, while you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. The CUE employs proximity sensing, gesture recognition and natural voice recognition, along with easy-to-read icons and customizable information like those used on smartphones and tablets. It even senses when you get in the car. Now, if we can only get it to make a vanilla latté.
- Airbags for Cars – Now you’re probably thinking, c’mon man, we all know about airbags. They’re in my steering wheel, on the inside of my door, all over the place. But what if we said this wasn’t an airbag IN the car. What if it’s OUTSIDE the car? As it turns out, Mercedes-Benz is experimenting with a very large airbag that would inflate from under the car if it sensed an impending crash. Now that would be cool.
- The “EyeSight” Safety System – Subaru has taken the external car sensor to a whole new level. This pro-active safety system uses small cameras placed on the rearview mirror as detectors to regulate cruise control, signal a lane departure or lane swaying warning, a pre-collision warning, and pre-collision throttle management and braking. So, it will literally stop the car if you can’t. It’s like having your old driving instructor in the car at all times.
- Self-driving Cars – Now you’ve probably already heard about self-driving cars on some evening news show, but did you know that Google (yes, THAT Google) announced recently that its self-driving cars have logged over 300,000 miles without a single accident. And did you know that Florida, Nevada and California have now passed laws to make self-driving cars street legal. So 2013 will be a major coming out year for self-driving cars, with manufactures like Volvo and Mercedes-Benz jumping on the self-driving bandwagon
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication (V2V) – Imaging you’re approaching an intersection and another car comes into the intersection at high speed. There’s not enough time to brake and it’s going to be a T-bone crash with someone getting badly hurt. But what if the cars could talk to one another – what if they sensed the impending crash and both began to slow as they approached the intersection. V2V works by using wireless signals to send information back and forth between cars and exchange information about their location, speed and direction. Though still in the early stages, both car manufacturers and the Highway Safety Authority are very excited about the possibilities V2V may bring to the country’s roads and highways
This list is just some of the cooler things we’ve heard about regarding cars. While some of the new innovations are clearly for comfort and convenience, most of the new technology we’ve seen seems to be focused on safety, and that’s a very good thing indeed.
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