Why can't all new cars have these features?
Technology on new cars gets better every year, but that doesn't always mean that we are happy about this progress. We do miss manual transmissions and naturally aspirated engines, but for the most part, we also embrace new technologies that make our lives easier. In that spirit, we have compiled a list of five new car technologies that we want to see on more new models. Some of these are already available, but we would love to see them integrated on every new model as, in short, it would make them all even better.
Self driving is obviously one of the most anticipated features to reach the mass automotive market. What could possibly be nicer than being able to take your hands off the wheel to relax? Tesla is the closest company to having a fully autonomous car right now, but clearly the technology is not quite ready. Once all of the kinks are worked out, the prospect of being able to get home from work without having to worry about driving is quite an appealing one. Hopefully more companies start rolling out self-driving systems like Tesla has.
A system that could possibly be tied in with self driving cars is Audi's V to I technology. Basically, there are two ways that cars can communicate with the things around them. Vehicle-to-vehicle is when cars talk to each other to avoid hitting each other. That is what self-driving cars need to have. Vehicle-to-infrastructure involves cars talking to things like the traffic lights and road signs. Audi's system can talk to traffic lights so you can see how long it will take for lights to change. Just imagine if you car was able to predict when lights would change and you never had to stop at a red light ever again. Combine this with self driving, and your commute would no longer be so stressful.
Even if cars can't yet drive themselves, we still want some form of entertainment to complement our drive. Car manufacturers call these systems "infotainment," but we prefer to call them what they really are, crap. Not all of these systems are terrible, like BMW's iDrive or Mercedes Command, but all them become out of date so quickly that you are probably better off using your newest smartphone. That is why Android Auto and Apple Car Play make so much sense. Instead of having automakers struggle to keep up with technology, you can just mirror what ever is on your Apple or Android device to your car's central display. Your phone is probably faster that you car's infotainment system anyway.
Camera systems in cars have been severely underutilized. It was nice having a backup camera to help in reversing maneuvers, but surround-view cameras have quickly made the basic backup camera seem dated. All cars will have to have a basic backup camera by 2018, but we think that automakers shouldn't just stop there. For example, the new Corvette has a data recorder which takes video footage from the car and combines it with your telemetry. This application is mainly for track use, but the same technology could be used for integrated "dash" cameras. That way, if you ever get into an accident, the car will be able to prove that it wasn't your fault with video evidence.
The idea for cylinder deactivation is nothing new. In fact, GM introduced the technology with its L62 V-8-6-4 engine back in 1981. Cadillac models came with this L62 engine which could shut down a portion of its cylinders to run as a V8, V6, or a V4 engine. Basically, the idea was to be more fuel efficient. The technology was way ahead of its time, and is now used on GM models like the Camaro and Corvette. Even though these cars come with 6.2-liter V8s, they can both get close to 30 mpg. We think that more companies should take advantage of cylinder deactivation, that way we could have engines with a ton of power that won't cost us the earth to run.