The world ushered in the 21st century 18 years ago and it hasn’t looked back. Decades earlier, science fiction had people doing things no one would’ve ever thought possible, but they are doing those things now. Just over the last 10 years alone, automotive technology has given people the ability to toss the maps back in the glove compartment and talk on the phone hands-free. Soon, people won’t even have to drive their cars, but the kinks in that technology are still being ironed out. In the meantime, there three things automotive makers and their customers are excited about today.
1. Forget the Hitch Hassle
Those with boats and trailers will be stoked about the first item on the list. According to Crains Detroit, a company by the name of Continental Automotive Systems has designed a system that will automatically guide and hitch a trailer to the back of the pulling vehicle. Those who stress over getting their boat hooked up to their vehicles will no longer sweat when it’s time to hit the water. Instead, all they need to worry about is finding that low interest auto financing in Ontario to buy a new truck.
It is anticipated this technology will be available in 2020, and it is designed to use current technology already found on most vehicles. The system will take advantage of a car or truck’s backup camera to determine the hitch’s clearance and proximity to the back of the towing automobile. Included with the camera on new models will be air suspension that can adjust the height of the vehicle to meet with the hitch perfectly. Boom! Seamless hitch.
Once connected, the system’s job isn’t done. As you’ve seen with many new models, automatic backup of the vehicle and its attached tow can be done with the push of a button or the guidance of a smartphone. The cameras remain active to keep an eye on the reversal operation, and the driver can rest easy in the knowledge that his or her vehicle is in good automated hands. Not sure Gene Roddenberry could’ve even predicted this technology.
2. Don’t Blind Oncoming Traffic
Nothing is more annoying or dangerous than driving at night and being blinded by oncoming traffic. Already used in Europe, adaptive LED headlamps automatically adjust to account for light around the vehicle. Because LED lamps are made of numerous tiny lights, the adjustment is easy, and it helps prevent oncoming traffic glare that is a common cause of automobile accidents. If the glare around the vehicle is high, some of the LED lights will turn off to increase visibility.
As with the automated trailer hitching system, adaptive headlamps use vehicle cameras and advanced safety features to help it determine that there is too much light ahead and around the vehicle. The advanced security systems used by the technology include emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems. Varroc Lighting Systems, a Plymouth company, produces these headlamps overseas already, and they should be hitting the U.S. market any day now.
3. Get Real
Pokemon Go meets vehicle technology in this installation on the list. Manufacturers are utilizing the benefits of augmented reality to improve automobile production efficiency and reliability. Manufacturers use this technology to idiot-proof assembly. For example, Crains Detroit explains, “’Light Guide Systems,’ uses projectors to overlay step-by-step images and instructions, complete with visual cues like arrows and videos, on parts and production areas to assist workers with proper assembly.”
What this means is an instant how-to-assemble-a-car guide right on the production floor. The indicators guide the worker through the production process, which not only streamlines it to make it faster but also reduces human error. If something isn’t assembled properly or a step is missed, the system warns the worker by flashing a red light and sounding a buzzer. The technology is already being used by Toyota, which spearheaded similar systems as far back as the 1960s.
Your new car or truck is more technical than you ever thought possible, and each system is designed to increase driver safety, vehicle reliability, and reduce production costs. This might not reflect too much in the sticker prices, but who cares if you can hitch your boat to your truck without lifting a finger. People may not be able to ask Scotty to beam them somewhere instantaneously yet, but with modern technology taking the automotive industry to unbelievable height, that’s only a few decades away.