Automotive engineering has blessed the world with technology that has not only made lives easier and more manageable, but more human to the touch. Cars are becoming more and more advanced as technology is getting reliable and affordable. From entirely analog machines to living breathing artificial intelligence; bringing cars to life.
The future of central computer systems
Computer systems, are designed for navigation of the functions in the automobile. Everything from intelligent fuel saving, map navigation, connectivity, comfort, and entertainment make the driving experience much more personal. The plethora of options and choice onboard modern cars is something that science, has been working on for the past decade to achieve.
Image by – Matheus Swanson
At CES 2017 BMW, unveiled their new HoloActive touchscreen, which is an expansion built on the Gesture Control System. At the present time, this feature is available in their 7-series sedan models. By the physical actions, you make with your hands; a free-floating projection impersonates then interprets them, resulting in systematic actions taking place. The center console computer is thus, without any buttons at all. A control pad is visible next to the driver and may be set by the user to perform certain functions, just by using your fingertips. A camera is positioned to track these movements accurately.
Credit – MikePhotos
A unique selling point of modern cars is they harbor artificial intelligence whose sole goal is to keep the driver aware, alert, informed and above all safe. Ford has a targeted innovation that uses multiple beams to inform its radar module, which in turn detects vehicles which the driver is unable to see. This system eliminates the threat of collisions from blind sports. The run-off road protection created by Volvo, is designed to protect the driver and passengers from serious harm if the vehicle were to ever veer violently off the road and sustain a hard impact. This creation has been tested in scenarios where the vehicle becomes airborne, plows through rough terrain, lateral rolling motions and or suddenly meets a dead-stop. Seat belts protect the driver using this technology by combining the geometry of the seat position and rapid retraction to stabilize the wearer. However, manufacturers suggest consumers possess the knowledge of how to unlock a seat belt after a collision as a human precaution.
Source – Arvind Govindaraj
Fuel efficient hybrids
Turbo technology has come a long way since the 1000bhp F1 monsters of the late 1980s. Car manufacturers are now producing efficient yet powerful engines based around high-revolution turbos. The naturally aspirated engine is a dying beast, most modern cars rely on 4-cylinder turbocharged engines as their staple powerplant. Mass production has lead to a variety of engines available for customers, with standard base models able to deliver sufficient torque and fuel economy. Popular models like the Ford Fusion Hybrid SE, have been able to put together a package that provides an inline 4-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter configuration. Onboard is an 118bhp electric motor which supplements the engine, providing immediate silent torque in low gears. Fuel economy of this particular model has a combined total of city and highway, of 42 mpg. Customers will have to fill up at the gas station less, while also traveling further on one tank. The Aston Martin DB11 may boast a 5.0 liter V12, twin-turbocharged engine, but it also has multi-piston switch-off. If this glorious 600bhp monster is sitting at a red light, the engine will automatically switch off, and if the driver wishes to cruise at low speed, the V12 becomes a V6 with only half the cylinders pulling the car forward. This brings the total mpg to 25. Considering the highway consumption is 33 mpg, this shows remarkable consideration has gone into the engine.
If automation isn’t really for you, and you enjoy the sensation of driving, technology has found a way to keep you relaxed and alert. Car seats are getting a makeover by Faurecia and Stanford University from its Design Research department. Development of a car seat which has the name ‘Active Wellness seat’, measures the heart rate and breathing patterns of the driver to make sure you’re alert and comfortable. If the program senses that you may be stressed, it will massage your back to stimulate the spinal cord. Of course, drivers do have the option of turning this feature off. This new horizon means cars are becoming more human, more understanding and catering for an individual. Helping the driver to stay alert while also soothing any nerves or anxieties you have, means there’s less likely to be an accident due to a lack of awareness.