It's only a matter of time before these high-tech toys trickle down to mainstream cars.
Automotive development is moving at breakneck speed towards self-driving cars, but while the media has fixated on this exciting new technology, there are a wide array of new technologies arriving soon that will have profound effects on the capabilities of new cars and your experience behind the wheel. The move to self-driving cars could happen sooner than you think, but while we wait for our cars to drive themselves, here's a look at the cool high-tech toys we can expect to see in mainstream cars in the near future.
Biometric Security Imagine not using a key to unlock your car, but rather your thumbprint or retinal profile. It seems far-flung, but what could be more secure? Biometrics are coming to cars.
Electric Turbos and Superchargers Many modern small-displacement engines use a turbocharger or supercharger to produce big power. Until now, these induction systems incurred a small amount of drag on the engine itself, meaning power gains weren't fully maximized. By driving them using an electric motor, all the power gains can be put to the ground.
Lane Watching and Accident Avoidance Systems Accidentally swerve into the next lane reaching for your iced coffee? Shame on you, but with help from advanced LIDAR and SONAR powered safety systems, your car will correct these mistakes for you.
Laser Headlights Already in use by companies like Audi and BMW, laser headlight systems are the most powerful ever employed on road cars. They have the added benefit of nearly never wearing out and producing almost no heat.
Upgraded Lightweight Windshields Windshields have improved over the years, but with multiple manufacturers investigating new substrates such as Gorilla Glass, famous for its use in the iPhone, windshield replacements could become a thing of the past.
Remote Ignition Shutdown Has someone hijacked your car? No worries - just get in touch with the authorities, and they can use this feature to stop the criminal from driving another inch. Car lenders are already making use of this high-tech security feature.
New Engine Technologies Variable-compression engines that can be super-efficient or super powerful and compression-ignition gasoline engines being developed by Mazda will ring in a new era of performance and fuel efficiency.
Parking Assistance You've heard of cars that have self-parking features, but these systems are going to get much better. How so? They'll be able to locate free parking spots and guide you to them!
Health Monitoring Should a driver suffer a heart attack at the wheel, they could expose all the motorists around them to risk. If they're alone, there's little chance of help finding them, but with new health monitoring technology like the system Ford is developing, your car will be able to call for help if vital signs show emergency.
Hand-Gesture Infotainment Reaching for buttons and dials is so last year. Wouldn't you just prefer to raise and lower volume at the swipe of your wrist? Now you can, and this cool technology is already in place on ultra-luxury vehicles like BMW's current line of 7 Series land-yachts.
See, even if you're stuck behind the wheel, driving in the next five years is only going to get better. Are you sure you want to let the computer have all your fun?