One of the coolest things about cars is they just keep getting cooler and cooler. Crash-prevention technology, driverless operating systems (pictured), and cars that can steer you away from traffic jams are just a few of the latest car innovations to come down the road. Before you click through this gallery, you might want to buckle up because these advancements could be in your next car faster than you think.
Windshield app display
Tech company NeXt is trying to keep drivers’ eyes on the road with a display that projects frequently used phone apps on the windshield. The system is called HeadsUp! and is designed primarily for phone, messaging, and navigation services.
Text-proof car systems
A pair of designers have developed a potential solution to texting while driving. Their concept UI design for Car Mode works like Airplane Mode by allowing your phone to stay on but blocking certain features that coulnd compromise a driver’s attention to the road.
Toyota recently gave a sneak peek at one of its futuristic designs: a car-bike hybrid that can read a driver’s facial expressions and voice patterns to determine if you are having fun. The readings are intended to help the car understand what you are like when you drive and make the car a better co-pilot.
Seat warning system
GM is taking seat technology to the next level with the 2014 Buick LaCrosse AWD sedan. The driver’s seat of this near-luxury car works with many of the car’s standard and optional safety systems and shakes when the car crosses the median or closes in too fast on the car in front of you.
The seat works with many of the LaCrosse’s standard and optional safety systems, including the Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, and Automatic Collision Preparation.
Have you ever unexpectedly run out of gas? Don’t have a cow — no, wait! Scratch that. That might be just what you need after all.
Researchers from Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology have found an interesting way to cash in on cows by taking the highly combustible natural gas from a cow’s digestive system and using it for energy production. Talk about a cash cow!
The researchers also believe the process could help the environment by reducing the country’s carbon emissions by about 30 percent.
Connectivity is becoming a standard feature in many new cars, allowing drivers to connect to other cars to get real-time traffic updates, on-board entertainment, and safety warnings.
To address the needs of increasingly connected cars, California’s Cisco Systems and Germany’s Contential AG recently teamed up on a connected-car cloud service that Cisco claims will offer $1,400 to drivers in annual benefits.
In 2011, researchers in Germany found that if fewer than 0.05 percent of cars on the road communicated with each other, it could reduce traffic significantly.
Crash prevention systems
The seat belt and the airbag were once considered the height of auto safety. But car technology is advancing to the point where cars may be able to avoid collisions altogether.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently awarded its highest “superior’’ grade to seven vehicles equipped with both front collision-warning systems, which warn drovers of a potential crash, and automatic braking, which can stop a car if it detects a collision is pending.
Nighttime pedestrian detection
Low visibility can be extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists but another advancementy by Volvo seeks to make the roads safer from cars.
Volvo already has a pedestrian-detection system that uses radar and a forward-facing camera positioned behind the rearview mirror. The technology will be adapted for nighttime use and will include brake technology.
One of the coolest safety features coming down the road, not only offers protections for drivers but for animals as well. Volvo Car Group has plans for warning system that can detect animals in both daylight and at night and automatically brake to avoid a crash.
According to the site Car-Accidents.com, there are 1.5 million crashes involving deer each year. These accidents cause billions in damage, over 10,000 injuries to people in the car, and 150 deer fatalities. Volvo’s tech aims to reduce that figure and offer protections to both drivers and animals.
Autonomous drive system
Look, ma! No hands! A driver-less car was once thought of as science fiction. But Nissan is predicting consumers will be able to (ahem!) get their hands on such a vehicle by as early as 2020.
Nissan predicts its Automous Drive technology will reduce millions of accidents and injuries by removing human error from the equation. The company also predicts this technology will reduce the amount of time drivers spend on the road.
Nissan is not the only car to purue driverless systems. General Motors and Google are also pursuing driverless cars.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011.
In an effort to prevent injuries, accidents, and deaths caused by distracted driving, developers from the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia produced a system that can read a driver’s neurological signals to make sure he or she is paying attention to the road. If the system detects the driver is not concentrating, the car will slow down.