Even budget cars these days come with a host of technologies to entice the buyer, but it’s really the high-end vehicles that are showing us where auto technology is headed and what your future car could be like. Here’s what to expect
* Head-up displays
Used originally in fighter jets and military aircraft, head-up displays, or HUDs, are now starting to go mainstream. As of now, 38 vehicle models had standard or optional head-up displays, according to Edmunds.com. HUDs project light on to the windshield, creating an image that appears about 5-8 ft beyond the windshield. It is designed so that the driver can still keep his eye on the road while using the information which can show navigation routes and other infotainment data. Audi, BMW, Lexus and Cadillac account for most of the models sold with head-up units and Mercedes-Benz will make head-up displays available on its C-class and S-class models later this year. The main issue for automakers is that HUDs require specially-treated windshields and bulky optical equipment to produce the image.
* Alcohol detectors
Many automakers are working with transport authorities in various countries to introduce technology that can detect alcohol by touch and breath so that fatalities on roads can be reduced or eliminated. With most countries cracking down on drunken driving, technology is one area that has the most potential. Companies in Japan, the US and Europe are working towards technology that would react to a driver’s breath, his movements on the wheel as compared to his regular, recorded performance, and whether the vehicle is being driven safely and in a stable manner. There is still a debate on whether the car should be disabled or issue an alert if alcohol is detected, but the technology is on its way.
* Emergency braking
The emergency braking system uses radars and other vehicle sensory information to detect an impending collision and apply brakes automatically to avoid contact or reduce its severity in case the driver is slow to react. A number of automakers have begun integrating automatic braking systems into their vehicles.
* Voice commands
Korean automaker Hyundai will shortly integrate Siri, the intelligent assistant that is familiar to users of the iPhone. Drivers with a compatible iPhone can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Other companies like Dragon Drive offer