Innovations in the Automotive Industry
The automobile industry is in a period of technological advancement unlike any we have ever seen. Even older cars are benefiting. According to Low Mileage Engines of Memphis, using fully synthetic oil in your vehicle will not only extend the life of your engine, but also increases your gas mileage by 5-8 percent. The next time you buy a new car, there may be some surprising things under the hood and in the cabin. Here are the biggest announcements of 2014.
Toyota Airborne Car
Toyota has an R & D vehicle in the works that floats on a cushion of air. It is designed to operate on normal roads. It won’t show up in Toyota dealerships this year, but some the technology will likely spin-off into their other product lines.
In April, JLR Corp showed off a technology it calls Transparent Bonnet, which displays an augmented reality view of the area around you. When you are maneuvering up a steep hill or into a tight parking spot it shows you the terrain that you can’t see along with the position of your wheels, bumpers, and the curb.
Hybrids have always turned off their engines when you stop and turned them on again when you step on the throttle. This feature looks like it is becoming mainstream. Hero Motocorp introduced a motorcycle with stop-start technology last year, the Splendor iSmart.
Both Google and Apple announced new releases of their smartphone operating systems that integrate into the dashboard. They allow you to use the phones familiar interface for hands-free music, navigation, weather and communication. Google’s version is called Android Auto, and most major manufacturers have signed on. Apples version is called CarPlay, and in typical Apple style it integrates seamlessly into the dashboard.
Ford and Hyundai have released a collision avoidance system that combines millimeter-wave radar in the front grill with a camera in the windshield. The system alerts you in no uncertain terms if you are headed for a head-on crash. If you ignore it, it puts on the brakes for you.
The US Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken steps to enable communication between vehicles (not their occupants). The proposed system will exchange speed and position data between vehicles 10 times a second with the aim of improving safety.
Automated Manual Transmission
The Suzuki Celerio is a gearless hatchback with an electric-hydraulic system that engages the clutch and shifts gears in the manual transmission. They sourced the system from Fiat who developed it for Formula 1 racing cars.
Google Driverless Cars
In January of 2014 Google started testing driverless cars. They run on public highways and have no controls for the driver to use. Google has created a self-driving system with sensors and computers that can be fitted to an ordinary SUV. Both the US and the UK are working out the laws that will allow them on the highway.
All these innovations were announced last year, according to an article by Deepanshu Tomar on ETAuto.com. Many are available in 2015 model lines.