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The Future of Motor Vehicles

Published on: 05 June 2015

Unless you’re a patron of public transport systems, take a run to and from work or enjoy a magic carpet ride, you’re probably one of the many South Africans who spends a good handful of hours inside their vehicles during their daily commute. Back-route gridlocks, traffic congestion on the highways and defective traffic lights are just a few things that have the capacity to turn any commute into a nightmare.

As South Africa drivers are aware, car insurance is an imperative safety net for drivers who spend hours on the roads. Adept patience is another essential; it’s just not something that you can pay for. We’re all familiar with the feeling of daydreaming our way through traffic, bobbing in and out of reality whist we dream frivolously of super-fast cars, vehicles that can drive themselves while we snooze in the backseat, and of motor cars that can lift themselves up off of the road and zoot through congestion. How wonderful a place would the world be without the frustrations and anxiety of traffic (cue wistful sigh)?

On the bright side, our futuristic dreams might be far closer to realisation than we imagine – with a global focus on car safety and improved efficiency, the future of motor vehicles is bright. From self-driving vehicles to cars that, over time, learn your schedule and preferences, we’re in for array of pleasant surprises. If you’re wondering about what’s in store for the future of our beloved vehicles, take a look at the ultramodern, high-tech and super-advanced line-up of what we can expect:

Car-to-Car and Car-to-Road Communication

As if we are trying to channel the communication habits of whales, motor vehicles will soon be able to communicate with each other and with the road. Admittedly, the vehicles will not use rumbles and sonar but they will most certainly use a technology called Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication. This involves wireless signals that send information back and forth between cars, including information on location, speed and direction. These signals are then sent to surrounding vehicles and the vehicles themselves permit a safe travelling distance between each vehicle. Sounds like something out of the Jetsons!

Self-driving Vehicles

Already in existence, self-driving vehicles have become the focus for many vehicle manufactures. The engineers behind luxury car brand, Volvo, aim to have 100 self-driving vehicles operating on the roads in Sweden by 2017. The self-drive Google vehicles have already driven more than 321,869 kilometres of public roads, making it clear that self-drive vehicles are well on their way to making it into the international vehicle market.

Augmented Reality Dashboards

Think of Tony Stark’s fancy screens on which he designs his high-tech toys. Now imagine what it would feel like if your vehicle offered a similar feature. The technology behind Augmented Reality Dashboards is that of hypersensitive sensors that alert you to what is happening around you, and displaying it on the windshield. This includes other vehicles and obstacles that compromise the driver’s safety. Warning signs, images and alternative routes will pop up on the windshield, giving drivers enough information to change the course of their direction and remain safe. 

Self-aware Vehicles

Self-aware vehicle – the immediate image that comes to mind is that of Skynet, the Terminator’s infamous artificial intelligence system. The future holds a handful of bizarre inventions and this is certainly one of them! Imagine a vehicle that, over time, learns your habits, schedule and preferences and is able to make smart decisions based on that data. The technology behind this mind-boggling invention relies on GPS and satellite connection through which the data is collected. From this, the car is able to figure out which route you are taking, the times and the all of the stops that you make and calculates this into smart decisions that can be measured in actions based on the collected data.

Ultimately, these vehicular advances are based on the movement towards safer, more efficient driving. Even if you can’t yet afford such futuristic upgrades to your vehicle, be sure to review your vehicle insurance policy to ensure that it is up to date, or chat to car insurance companies and request  a detailed quote. We might not be able to get our car to automatically find its way to our favourite coffee house, but we can do our best to keep it safe!

Read more on the history of the motor vehicle.