Innovation has been significant this year, with a variety of manufacturers stepping up their game to offer the most technologically advanced bells and whistles available on the market today. From wireless charging stations to electric vehicles, enhanced safety features to wacky concept cars, 2013 has been a year to remember. Here are our picks for the year’s top ten vehicle innovations.
1. Avoiding a Speeding Ticket
If your lead foot tends to get you in trouble sometimes, check out the Cobra iRadar ATOM. This device notifies you of upcoming speed traps, speed cameras, and red lights up ahead. You will have access to the iRadar Community via your smartphone, to which it connects.
2. Renting Your Wheels
Whether you don’t want the hassles of ownership, can’t afford to make the investment, or simply enjoy the idea of being green when it comes to transportation, you can now rent cars and even bicycles in many major cities. Paying a membership fee entitles you to rent vehicles without having to travel to a rental facility to obtain them.
3. Smart Glass
If you like the feeling of the sun on your face as you drive with the top down, but still want the convenience of air conditioning and protection from UV and infra-red rays, the Magic Sky Control is the answer. Simply pressing a button changes the appearance of this panoramic glass roof from tinted to clear.
4. Car Seat Technology
iAlert connects your smartphone to your car seat, allowing you to be notified in real time if the child has managed to escape the seat, or if he or she has been left unattended in it. It monitors vehicle temperature, and even lets you store 12 emergency contacts in the mobile app itself.
5. Advanced Key Fobs
The MyKey can be programmed to help accomplish a variety of safety precautions, from blocking calls and texts while the car is in drive, to setting off an alarm if the car is speeding, to disabling the sound system if seatbelts aren’t being worn. Needless to say, MyKey can be an especially helpful tool for the parents of teenage drivers.
6. Safety Scoring System
Tag N Go’s GPS Safety System can let you know how other members of your family are driving a vehicle, even if you aren’t present in the car to witness it for yourself. Plugging in the Family Car Tracker monitors driving behaviour and provides information on how driving safety can be improved. It also utilizes real-time location tracking and past trip analysis.
7. Color-Changing Cars
Remember “mood rings” that used to change colour on your finger, depending on your state of mind? Toyota recently unveiled the FV2 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The vehicle can change colour depending on the driver’s mood, though it is still being developed at this time.
8. Self-Driving Automobiles
The future is now: many auto-makers have already begun testing their fully autonomous (self-driving) vehicles, while others have started to develop safety technology that functions independently of the driver. Nissan’s Safety Shield is one such example, offering vehicles the ability to change lanes independently, merge and brake when needed, and detect other kinds of danger while on the road.
9. Better Roads
Vehicles don’t get all of the bells and whistles for themselves. Smarter roads are being constructed, including the UK’s A14 super highway project. A series of sensors will be installed along the road to monitor traffic. Aided by communicating with the phones in vehicles that are on the road, traffic de-congestion is the ultimate goal.
10. Smart Panels
Vehicle batteries, whether for gas or electric models, only last so many years before needing to be replaced. Volvo and the Imperial College of London are developing reinforced carbon fibres that will create nano-material and structural super-capacitors. The goal is to utilize brake energy, which will then transfer back to the electric motor.
What will be truly interesting to see is how these innovations can potentially save you money or cost you more in the long run. Safe to say, you will be needing a new auto insurance quote when driver-less cars hit the road!
Top 10 car innovations brought to you by IFA Auto Insurance.
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