The Future of Fleet Technology
Looking back on the history of automotive technology, it’s astonishing to see how far the industry has come. From 8-tracks to satellite radio, simple analog dashboards to digital displays reminiscent of a fighter-jet cockpit, vehicles today come lavishly stocked with features that drivers of the past probably never dreamed of. Yet, auto manufacturers continue to spend millions of dollars each year researching and developing the next exciting tools and technology despite how far we’ve come. In this article, we’ll take a look at some vehicle technology that has the potential to become mainstream in the years to come.
Anti-Drunk Driving Systems
The problem of impaired drivers continues to plague society. However, new legislation may help to provide some solutions. Nestled into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 is a clause instructing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to examine and study the feasibility of various alcohol detection systems. This legislation could ultimately result in the establishment of definitive rules for these devices for U.S. automakers. Should the legislation become law, we could see these systems implemented within the next five years.
If you’ve ever driven into the sun, you know how blinding that can be. The momentary blindness from sun glare causes twice as many traffic accidents as any other weather-related condition. Bosch Mobility Solutions has developed a “smart visor” to help solve the problem. While the traditional flip-down visor does help block the glare, its opaque design also decreases overall visibility. The Virtual Visor offers a transparent LCD and utilizes driver-monitoring cameras to analyze what a driver is seeing, then blocks out the sun directly where it would hit the driver’s eyes. According to Gadgets360, Bosch Mobility Solutions is actively involved in discussions to commercialize its new visor.
Imagine you’re home at night, and the power goes out. Now, imagine using your vehicle to turn the power back on! That technology will soon become a reality. A recent post on Autoweek.com discusses how Ford’s upcoming F-150 Lightning Pro will be able to power a home for up to 3 days in the event of an outage. The process is relatively simple. Usually, when connected to a charger, an electric vehicle draws power. However, in the event of an outage, Ford’s home management system will reverse the flow of energy, sending up to 30KWh per day from the vehicle battery back into the home. For anyone without a generator, this feature would provide great convenience and comfort in the event of an emergency outage.
While physical vehicle keys may stick around, drivers could soon have a new way to enter, lock, unlock, and start their vehicles. Earlier this year, it was announced that the new Android 12 operating system will support a digital key compatible with some 2022 vehicles. Users will also be able to securely share their “key” remotely with friends and family. While some manufacturers already provide users the lock, unlock, and remote start functionality through their proprietary apps, Google aims to eliminate the inconvenience of downloading yet another app by embedding the technology directly into your phone’s operating system.
For many people, parking is one of the most troublesome aspects of operating a vehicle. Finding a free spot, navigating tight gaps, making sure you’re correctly aligned in the space can all be problematic. To help alleviate parking difficulties, auto manufacturers have begun experimenting with automated parking technology. While manufacturers such as Toyota, Jeep, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Ford have made the technology available on select higher-end models, no manufacturer has included the feature as standard equipment to date. However, as technology and consumer demand evolve, we may see this as standard equipment in the not too distant future.
These are merely a handful of the convenient tools and technologies we may see in the next decade or two. For those of us who love to drive, the ride gets better and better all the time.