Experts predict that the cars we drive will undergo greater change over the next decade than has occurred over the past 50 years. Thanks to the rapid development of innovative new technologies, motorists can look forward to improved road safety, reduced emissions and, with increased automation, a less stressful driving experience. Many new models on sale today already include advanced tech such as lane assist and autonomous emergency break, and manufacturers are planning a range of new innovations for launch in 2020.
We’re often told “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel”, but that’s precisely what some automotive engineers have been doing – creating a new and improved adaptive car wheel and tyres that change to match the driving conditions. Featuring integrated microcompressors to control tyre pressure, adaptive wheels will inflate to improve fuel efficiency on dry roads, and deflate to increase grip on slippery surfaces. It’s rumoured that some designs will even be able to expand and contract wheel width.
Driver monitoring systems
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in around one in every five road accidents, and in a quarter of fatal and serious accidents. Thankfully, this is an area where technology can play a big role in improving safety. New monitoring systems will keep an eye on driver behaviour and watch for signs of tiredness. By keeping track of eye height, blink rate and head movements, this new technology can detect the signs of sleepiness and alert drivers to the danger.
Digital door mirrors
You might not think there’s much you could do to improve a wing mirror, but next-generation virtual mirrors will feature cameras that stream live images to screens embedded in the corners of the dashboard. Virtual mirrors will not only minimise blind spots, they’ll also reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Rear-view mirrors are changing too, so no more blocked views from tall passengers or piled-up luggage, because a rear-facing camera installed in the back of the car will project an obstruction-free image onto the rear-view mirror. And sensors will scan for undetected objects at the sides of the car and warn the driver about cyclists in their blindspot.