I’ll admit, my vehicle isn’t very advanced. It’s a mid ’80s small pick-up, and I think whoever originally bought it didn’t just ask for the bare bones model, but actually asked the seller to remove stuff. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate some of the amazing technology coming out in the consumer auto market. If anything, it makes me appreciate the leaps even more.
1. Run Flat Tires
No, run flat tires may not require putting electrical components together under a microscope, but as someone who absolutely hates changing a tire, the idea of being able to just keep on driving all the way to the tire shop makes this my number 1.
Two different versions of the run flat tire exist. The first, and probably truest, uses a central ‘spine’ in the tire. This spine remains ridged after air loss from the tire, something for the car to roll on for a period of time before the rims begin to make contact with the pavement and cause damage.
The second version looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Using rubber in a honeycomb pattern, the manufacturers have designed a way to not even require air in the tire in the first place. Instead, the tire relies on the ability for rubber to take force and bend to replicate how regular tires react. Because of this, the outer portion of the tire can be punctures without the need to go directly to get a replacement. You probably won’t even know the puncture happened.
2. Rear-mounted Radar
I’ve never been too fond of backing cars up. I can do it, and do it proficiently, but not having quite as much view really bothers me. A recent innovation to combat this is the invention of rear-mounted radar which detects objects approaching (or that you’re approaching) and gives you an audible warning. Not only is this handy for parallel parking, but it can also save lives of people moving behind the car.
3. Automatic High-beam Control
Finally Lexus and Mercedes-Benz have both released a version of automatic headlight dimmers. Using cameras mounted behind the rear-view mirror, the Lexus is able to detect approaching cars and dim your high-beams, and even detect you approaching same-direction traffic and dim the lights in response.
Mercedes has taken this idea a step further. Instead of switching between high and low beams, their version gradually lowers the intensity of the light as the other vehicles approach. On sharp corners, they dim down until it’s determined whether other drivers are around the corner. We all hate it when other drivers don’t dim their high-beams, perhaps that will soon be a thing of the past.