We live in a world of science fiction. Some of the impossible futures we once envisioned have now become our reality. Technological advances in our cellphones, such as Siri and Google Voice, allow us to speak to our devices like people. We can ask for directions to the newest restaurant and send a text message without ever touching a button. Although flying cars or hover cars haven't made their way to car dealerships just yet, there are a myriad of mind-boggling car technologies on the horizon.
*Cars That Drive Themselves
Now, we're not exactly on the level of Transformers, but technology is definitely shifting driving responsibilities from people to the cars themselves. In fact, there are already cars that can drive without a driver. For instance, Audi released a car that can self-park. With a quick YouTube search you'll find a video of the car effortlessly driving itself into a parking garage to park in a spot. It sounds too good to be true, right? This video also shows an app that you can control to make your car park, track its location and then pick you up. When you're ready to leave a location, you request a pickup and your car comes to you. Self-parking vehicles are just a small step in a larger mission to create a fully autonomous vehicle. A Forbes article reports it will take years before autonomous vehicles are ubiquitous, although some vehicles driven without any human help are expected be on the market by 2020.
*Cars That Keep You Alive
Tracking one's health has become effortless with accessories like the Fitbit, a watch that can measure your heartbeat and calories burned with the tap of a button. What if these devices could link up to your car? Well, that's the next big thing in the works: active health monitoring in cars. Imagine having all your health data synced to your car while you drive. Therefore, if the driver is beginning to suffer from a panic attack from stress, the car could alert the driver. Forbes also notes that this technology pairs perfectly with autonomous vehicles because of its health and safety capabilities: If the driver suffered from a heart attack or seizure, the car would be able to pull over and contact paramedics for help. This type of technology could be especially useful for the elderly or those suffering from chronic illnesses. Forbes reported that the "Ford Motor Company has previewed the idea of seatbelt or steering wheel sensors that track vital statistics." This, and the fact that health and safety are always top concerns with vehicles, shows that this new technology is bound to make its way to the market.
*Cars That Don't Guzzle Gas
One of the defining factors customers evaluate when buying a car is the gas mileage. Gas prices today are constantly in flux, it's hard to know how expensive a weekend vacation or even carpooling your kids to school will be. However, there are many cars already on the market today that don't require standard fuel at all: hydrogen fuel-cell cars. This is the fuel of the future. According to CNN, hydrogen fuel-cell cars can drive up to 400 miles and be recharged in just minutes. But the best part is, they do not require gasoline or diesel to refuel, and they only emit water, making them extremely environmentally friendly. Toyota and Hyundai have already issued fuel-cell vehicles, and Honda is on its way. Of course, these cars come at a price. According to Edmunds, the hydrogen fuel-cell cars currently cost around $60,000 with a $499 monthly lease. As it usually happens with the new "it" product, it may take a few years for the price to decrease. However, the hydrogen fuel-cell design shows a lot of promise for long-distance driving with little harm to the environment. It's without a doubt an amazing technology to work toward a more sustainable future!
Although some of these technological advancements may seem a bit crazy, we are constantly shown that technology today is truly making the impossible possible.