We’ve already come so far in incorporating many advanced safety features into our cars; but there’s no such thing as being too safe. So in celebration of The Philippine STAR’s 35th anniversary, I’d like to share my list of 35 futuristic safety features that I’d totally love to have incorporated into my future car. Some of them are actually available in some cars now!
1. Animal Detection systems
It’s more common these days to have pedestrian detection systems; but cars don’t just share the roads with people, we share them with animals, too! So it’s great to have a vehicle equipped with special animal detection systems, because they behave differently from human pedestrians (and are smaller, too). Brands like Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Ford and Audi have already developed radars and infrared cameras to accommodate this.
2. Autonomous Emergency Braking
Because sometimes, we are caught off-guard! It can make the difference between disaster and avoidance.
3. Connected Vehicles that can communicate road conditions with each other
It’s called Vehicle-to-Vehicle connectivity or V2V. It’s awesome because through uploading and downloading information from a shared cloud, vehicles can talk to each other and share important information such as undesirable road conditions or road accidents, giving other drivers a heads-up!
4. Tires that are wirelessly connected to their vehicles
The beauty of having wirelessly connected tires is that they can share real-time road feedback information with the cars they are attached to. And those cars can share the data with other cars on the cloud, so that they can anticipate the type of road quality they are about to pass. This helps them to be better able to reduce braking distances given different conditions, because certain adjustments would have already been applied pre-emptively.
5. Adaptive tires
Goodyear has developed a triple-tube tire concept that allows the tire to change its shape, adapting to current road conditions!
6. Sustainable tires
One of the biggest problems of tire production is its environmental impact. But among the latest developments in the tire scene are tires made from rice husk ash—a new material rich in silica—which makes the manufacture of tires more sustainable. And although this is not an active safety feature, it does keep our planet safer for future generations.
7. Option for autonomous driving
I don’t think I’ll ever want to give up the pleasure of driving, so I don’t really desire vehicles to become completely autonomous. But I do appreciate the option to allow the car to drive autonomously for a short while, so that I can momentarily take a video call while traveling!
8. Haptic feedback
It may appear like a small detail, but switches with haptic feedback are a great help in keeping drivers’ eyes on the road! They’re already available in many vehicles such as the Lexus NX.
9. Biometric vehicle access
Biometrics can curtail carjacking. Or even your children from escaping in your car without your permission! Brands like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford, and Mitsubishi are currently investing in this technology.
10. A satellite navigation system that warns the driver when he is entering a section of road known for higher-than-average road accidents
Basically, real-time info is sent into the cloud, and then these are regularly updated into the car’s system.
11. Self-parking for autonomous vehicles
Audi is sponsoring a project in Boston that is building compact underground car parks specifically for semi-autonomous vehicles. It would be great if you could simply leave your car to park by itself, especially when you’re in a hurry!
12. Traffic sign recognition
Sometimes, when you drive in other provinces or countries, foreign traffic signs can get a bit confusing. During such times, a car assist like this can serve especially useful! After all, who wants to be mailed violation tickets with huge fines?
13. Wireless car charging
And I don’t mean of mobile phones but of the actual electric car! Instead of having to physically insert a plug, it would be so much more convenient to simply park the car over a charging pad! This will also eliminate any potential hazards from having to deal with any electrical connections and outlets.
14. Dynamic wireless charging
This is bringing the above-mentioned a step higher! Qualcomm is developing such a thing. Basically, the charging pads are installed below the road surface so that your electric car charges as you drive!
15. External airbags
We always talk about how many airbags there are inside the cabin, but have you ever heard of external airbags? The philosophy behind it is to fit airbags externally, for the protection of pedestrians and animals. Some luxury cars now have a sensor in in its bumper, which in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, immediately deploys an airbag on the windshield to cushion the potential impact against the pedestrian.
16. Lane departure corrective steering
Because sometimes, we get too sleepy…
17. Emergency Brake Assist
This is different from autonomous emergency braking because in this case, the driver is already stepping on the brakes. What this technology does is it initiates the maximum brake power faster than a human could!
18. Frontal Collision Warning systems
Always useful in busy city centers.
19. Fatigue Detection systems
Because sometimes we don’t even realize how tired we are already on the road!
20. Night vision
Infrared cameras project images of what lies ahead. This can be very useful in poorly lit provinces! It’s also very useful when there’s thick fog. Audi and Mercedes-Benz have this feature.
This is a great safety feature as it monitors your location and sends out a distress signal in the event of an emergency. It can also give detailed, daily feedback about your driving habits – and you can use this for self-improvement.
22. Augmented Reality windshields
Super awesome, new-age tech! It identifies objects in your field of vision and also highlights potential obstacles you should look out for, Minority Report style.
23. Transparent A-pillars
A-pillars have through time, become thicker for additional strength and safety. But consequently, this also minimizes visibility for drivers. A company called Continental is currently designing transparent A-pillars – so that drivers could see through the pillars via cameras and high-resolution screens!
24. Onboard Active Health Monitoring
Helpful in detecting fatigue and the onset of dangerous physical conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, this will not only benefit the driver, but also the motorists around him.
25. Brain-to-Vehicle Technology
Almost right out of a sci-fi novel, the driver wears a headset to connect the vehicle to his brain’s ‘wavelengths.’ This can speed up the process of the driver thinking of a particular action and then executing it, because the vehicle will already be anticipating it.
26. Infrared headlights
Helps you see better through storms, fog and other bad driving conditions. BMW, Ford, Audi and Toyota are leaning towards this now.
27. Safety Exit Assist
Ever open your door right when there’s a passing vehicle or person? This tech keeps the car’s rear doors from opening if it senses an incoming vehicle or cyclist from behind.
28. Pre-safe sound
Basically, the car prepares your ears for the upcoming loud sound of a collision by producing a specific kind of sound that primes your ears for it. It helps by preventing the occupants’ inner ears from being hurt, and by protecting them from experiencing a kind of potential disorientation. Mercedes Benz already has this technology.
29. Airless tires
These are tires that can’t go flat! They’re created with the architecture of a series of internal rubber spokes that don’t need air in order to give the tire its shape! GM and Michelin have created a tire like this.
30. Vehicle glass panels that offer SPF 100 sun protection
Because you always want to protect your skin.
31. Center airbags
These are airbags that deploy from the driver’s seat and open in between the driver and front passenger. It helps minimize neck and spine twist injuries.
32. Live blind-spot video feeds
As an example, the Audi e-tron can display a live video feed of your blind spot at the base of your A-pillar.
33. Intersection-scanning Autonomous Emergency Braking
Extra protection is provided as it actually scans all corners of the intersection.
34. Airbags that stop cars
Wait… what? Yes, Mercedes-Benz is already studying airbags that can deploy underneath the car when a collision is imminent! Yes, underneath. It doubles the stopping power of the car, and raises the vehicle by eight centimeters off the road, which could help protect the hip areas in side (T-bone) collisions.
35. Emotional Monitoring of the Driver
Because we want our cars to love us back! Kia is coming up with its own ‘Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving’ or READ. What it does is monitor the driver’s facial expressions, heart rate, and blood pressure in order to determine his mood. If it detects a bad mood, the vehicle tries to help improve his or her emotional condition by either adjusting the air conditioning temperature, playing calming music, or even turning on the built-in seat massager! Imagine a car that can cheer you up. There will certainly be less road rage on Edsa!