Carmakers are changing gear
COMPILED BY Dyan Seneviratne
Following decades of motor technology that evolved only marginally since the mid-20th century experts say we are seeing a rapid shift that is comparable to the industry’s early days. “In the last 30 to 40 years, the way cars were manufactured didn’t change much. But now, things are changing very quickly,” says Ozgur Tohumcu. He is the CEO of car tech company Tantalum.
VOICE COMMANDS High on the list of innovations is the introduction of Alexa-like personal assistants. “You’ll be able to interact with your car through voice commands,” Tohumcu assures.
For instance, you may be driving and looking for a parking space. All you’ll have to do is say ‘find parking’ – and your vehicle will navigate you to the closest, least expensive, safest garage based on your programmed preferences and pay the fee with your credit card.
SELF-HELP CARS Cars will be able to diagnose their own mechanical problems. Tohumcu reveals that “if it’s a software fix that’s needed, you’ll get an upgrade.”
If you need to take the car to a mechanic, it will research the options and book itself an appointment. The car will also be able to renew its insurance and seek better deals too!
ROUTE OPTIONS As navigational maps get overlaid with more data, you’ll be able to choose your route based on a broadening array of criteria including ‘least polluted.’
Tohumcu explains: “People will be taken from point A to point B through better air quality routes; and if you’re an older person or have chronic asthma, this is a real benefit.” Other possibilities include ‘safest route’ and ‘most scenic.’
3D PRINTING Arizona-based Local Motors is 3D printing cars. “They work with predetermined engine types and then 3D print cars on top of those engines,” Tohumcu observes.
You can pick and choose features from different cars to create your own. This means that we may see all types of interesting cars on the streets, he says. They won’t be cheap; but if you really want to stand out, this is one way to go.
MEDICAL HELP Ford is leading the way to technology that monitors health from the driver’s seat. The company has already developed an electrocardiography reader that monitors heart function through sensors in the seat, which don’t need to touch the skin in order to function.
In the works is also technology to monitor glucose levels of people with diabetes. People with heart disease and diabetes already monitor their health at home, and this technology will enable them to do this from the car too.
BRAINWAVE TECH Many crashes could be avoided if the driver had swerved or braked a little sooner. If Nissan has its way, it’s ‘Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) technology’ will make that possible.
By detecting whether a driver is about to swerve or brake, B2V technology could speed up the process by up to half a second. The driver will have to wear a headset full of electrodes, which the company is trying to make wireless and as unobtrusive as possible.