Tech Tuesday: the latest in car tech
Tech Tuesday: the latest in car tech is back and it's going to blow your mind..
Tech Tuesday gives you the latest in car tech and this time around it is going to blow your mind. So let’s get into it like a movie you’re not interested in watching but will because everyone else watched The Avengers: Age of Ultron and now you have to too.
1. Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo
The good news is that this car is basically a high-tech lounge that looks like a club from the movie Tron and can drive itself. The bad news is that it won’t be ready for a couple decades. Yaaaay?
This future-mobile will be able to host 5 passengers who will sit in a U-shaped cabin that houses hologram-centric touch technology. You can recreate your favourite scenes from Minority Report while enjoying everything the car has to cover. It’s actually less a car and more an awesome box on wheels (which is a kin to a Ferrari). Need some privacy? Use the Alubeam windows, which let light into the cabin but also prevent outsiders from looking in. While you could drive the car yourself, why bother sitting in traffic while you could simply kick back and relax.
So start saving up right now and in 20 years or so you just might, but probably won’t, be able to afford it.
2. BMW – Remote Valet Parking Assistant
Tired of looking for a parking spot? Tired of walking to your parked car when you’re ready to leave? Hesitant to burn precious calories walking several metres to find your car? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above you’re in luck but also probably in dire need to exercise regularly.
BMW debuted the tech at CES 2015. By using a Samsung smartwatch (take that, iOS lovers!) a modified BMW i3 electric car parked all by itself and later returned to the operator, just like an expensive boomerang. Utilizing 4 laser scanners located on each side of the vehicle, the camera reads everything around it and the car proceeds accordingly. Since this was a prototype, BMW provided a floor plan of the garage to the vehicle, which is a requirement for the car to operate on its own. When you exit the car and want it to find a parking spot, it does so using the same technology.
Sounds like a crappy James Bond movie but it’s the real deal. You can even use voice commands!
3. Hyundai – Improved Traffic Jam Assist
In a rush to get that morning coffee? With Hyundai’s Advanced Driver Assist Systems and Traffic Jam Assist, you’ll get there faster than ever without putting your hands on the steering wheel.
Hyundai offers a version of this feature on its Advanced Smart Cruise Control system that is similar to ones other rival automotive makers offer. The latest iteration of their technology actually tracks cars ahead by using a laser scanner and provides advanced steering control. Unfortunately, it only works up to 25 mph. Much like that bike you waited for but never got on your 6th birthday, you’re going to have to wait for this as well. It’s been reported that it will take at least 2 years before mass production due to the high cost of the scanner.
4. Volkswagen – Last Mile Surfer
Being lazy or out of shape in 2015 couldn’t have gotten any better. Next time you find a parking spot too far away from the entrance of your local mall (or gym if you’re going to be ironic), simply pop your trunk and ride this little bad boy all the way to the front door.
Weighing only 24 pounds with a collapsible build, the 3 wheeled scooter was designed to fit your trunk and not rob you blind as it ONLY costs $1,100. The range is allegedly 12.4 miles on a lithium-ion battery but final specs aren’t readily available. Scheduled to be released sometime in 2016, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer before foregoing walking all together.
Image Source: Digital Trends
5. Bridgestone Non-Pneumatic Tire (aka Airless Tire)
The Hankook Tire Group has a prototype airless tire called the iFlex but that didn’t stop Bridgestone from developing its own. In 2013, the company unveiled their second-generation version of their own airless tire. The benefits are numerous: never have a flat again, negating the need to carry a spare (or the extra weight) and the knowledge of not being stranded on the road (at least due to a flat) are just some.
The tires use slanted resin spokes to absorb shock. A replaceable thin band of solid rubber is used as tread, which is easily replaceable when it wears out. Another benefit of this tire is that every part of it is recyclable. Like most concepts, the airless tire isn’t ready for mass production due to design issues but they are slowly marching (rolling?) towards becoming a reality.
6. Heated Windshield Wipers
Winter is coming; and Canadian winters are much like being north of the wall. Everything freezes, snow inches higher and higher and wildlings roam the landscape.
Waiting for your engine to warm up can be a drag, but so can scrapping the ice and snow off your windshield while succumbimg to frostbite. If you’re too lazy to do so, the alternative is low-visibility and high risk of death, both which should be avoided. Luckily, companies like Everblades and Thermalblade produce heated windshield wipers that make your life so much easier. They also fit most vehicle makes and models so snow and ice shouldn’t be too much of a problem anymore.