Are you tired of waiting for car technology to catch up with the exciting world of the futuristic vehicles you dream of owning? Maybe those fantasies were fired by the many sci-fi movies you watched, and you are thinking, ‘Why not if it can be done in a movie?’ Actually, as far as car technology go, the future is practically here with us. It is just that most of them are not practical from a financial sense. But behind the scenes, researchers are working hard to bring down the cost of making some of the important components that will make these vehicles unique. These are some of the car technologies we can look forward to in the not too distant future
1. The Self-driving car
This car technology is becoming more popular as the days go by. Recently, Google announced that the autonomous car will for the first time be tested in Austin, Texas. This is the first time the car will be tested out of the controlled environment of the Mountain View campus headquarters of Google.
Using a well-crafted interconnected systems of radars, sensors, lasers and cameras, this car technology aims to deliver a car that would ultimately take the responsibility of navigating a car away from the driver, just like in airplanes where the autopilot works brilliantly.
Even though many people might kick against handing over the wheels to a computer software, the logic behind it is flawless. A city of autonomous car will significantly reduce traffic, accidents, and deaths. And of course you can get some work done while your car is driving you to work.
2. Interconnected cars
Also referred to as Networked Cars, this is closely related to the autonomous car technology. The idea behind interconnected cars is akin to the local area network in the world of personal computing. Ultimately cars would be made that can actually communicate with each other in a particular area or city. The implication is that a car, in for example Victoria Island, can link up with cars in Surulere and collect data of the traffic situation, weather, and any other germane information that would be needed to get to a destination very quickly.
General Motors is already trying out this car technology concept with the electric networked vehicle, EN-V, a two seat car that shares relevant info like speed, location and availability with other EN-Vs in the network through the use of wireless communication.
3. Electric Vehicle (EV)
This is one car technology that has being around for quite some time but has limited range because advances in battery research is yet to catch up with the technology. For now the available ones are too expensive even for rich people and the distance covered by a single charge is just too small.
The key to making this car technology available in a mass scale is the development of better and cheaper batteries. There is hope that research in lithium-polymer batteries would witness a vast reduction in cost. Also, professors of nano-material research in Australia might have found a solution using materials based on germanium to make Li-ion batteries that have five times the energy storage capabilities of the common Li-ion batteries. Again, the cost of obtaining germanium would have to significantly decrease before it becomes practicable in car technology on a mass scale.
The other challenge facing the electric car is where to charge the batteries very fast. Two options can be used; exchanging a dead battery with an already charged battery in a designated store and/or having a networked of charging stations like fuel refilling stations scattered around the city. It is noteworthy that Nissan is already taking a lead here. It announced a partnership with CarCharging to provide quick charging stations for its electric car, Leaf EV, in California and other cities on the East Coast.
Car technology to power the car of the future still has a lot more in stock. There would be unexpected developments in the field. The most concern for now is the prohibitive cost. But when the smartphone first came out, it was only for the rich. Look where we are now.