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Don’t Beam Me Up Yet, Scotty!

Being a “car guy” I enjoy reading all about the latest in car technology and all that is to come in the near future.   Automotive researchers are throwing around terms such as “human/machine interface” and “moving sensor platforms.” Basically, this just means that your vehicle can be a computer-robot meeting your needs while keeping you safe.  Driver error is the cause of most accidents so the idea is to take us humans out of the mix whenever possible. Technology is the easy part…overrides for safety is the difficult part and is the reason we aren’t enjoying all of this technology right now.  Here is what we have to look forward to:

  • Voice-recognition technology coupled with in-car applications.
  • Adaptive cruise control, somewhat available right now, keeps your vehicle a safe distance away from another vehicle to avoid accident. 
  • Self-parking cars are already available and use sensors and radar to guide the car.
  • Automated Guided Vehicle Systems that drives the car for us is already being tested!
  • Traffic lights that consider how changing a certain light can impact the entire traffic flow, enabling a reduction of delayed time by up to 30%.
  • Already in the wings is a plan to give vehicles a grade.  When shopping for a new vehicle you can tell if it gets an “A” or a “C” based on tailpipe emissions and also rate fuel savings.  For example, if you were deciding between two cars and car choice number one’s sticker price is $2,000 cheaper, but car choice number two will save you $3,000 in fuel costs…which do you buy?
  • As we know, OnStar can help us find a stolen vehicle but now it may even help us connect with our friends on social networks.  The OnStar Virtual Advisor service can let subscribers update their Facebook and enable them to listen to news feed messages.  The slogan?  “Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible.”
  • A vision-based collision prevention system the size of digital camera.  It will be mounted behind the windshield of a car.  Its monitors will scan the road in front of the vehicle while you drive.  If it spots danger in the way it will flash color-coded icons and sound an alert to help the driver avoid impact with a pedestrian, another car or an object in the way.

What would Henry Ford think these days?  The car has come a long way since the Model T.  Even though George Jetson’s car could fly I don’t think it was a media machine.  As long as they keep making vehicle’s that connect with the roads I’m happy.  I’m not sure I’m ready for Scotty to beam me up just yet.  I love cars too much!  Still…service and repairing a spaceship might be fun!

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