Cars are becoming more and more connected to advanced technologies every day. What we are starting to see is much more than electronic and driverless cars, but cars that are connected to technology in order to become ‘smart’ and provide the user with a great experience. Innovative features such as augmented reality displays and non-touch touchscreens make the modern car easy to use and a concept of the future.
When it comes to the customer journey, virtual reality is beginning to play a vital role in revolutionising the selecting and purchasing of a new vehicle. Virtual showrooms are gaining increasing popularity, meaning that customers are able to wear virtual reality headsets to experience the specific car models available in a range of environments. They can also ‘build the car of their dreams’, changing the desired features, colour and even sounds of the car. So far, this has proved a huge success, with customers no longer needing to even take a physical test drive, as they can fully experience their future car in a virtual environment.
Augmented reality and safety features in automotive
Using augmented reality in cars allows the driver to receive information on the windshield, so that they are able to keep their eyes on the road at the same time. These are called Heads Up Displays (HUDs) and although they have been around for some time, the technology didn’t quite reach its potential. The rapid growth in tech in recent years has meant that this feature of the contemporary car has improved significantly, with an impressive update that allows only the driver to see the full-colour holographic image presented to them. This image is able to provide useful information such as driving speed, navigation and fuel levels. It is predicted that the next few years will produce some of the most advanced and innovative technologies to cars that we have ever seen, and augmented reality could indeed become a regular feature in these designs.
Pre-collision technology ties into the idea of HUDs in automotive as they essentially provide hazard warnings to the driver, which could be displayed on the augmented reality screens. This type of technology detects dangerous situations when driving, such as pedestrians crossing or oncoming vehicles, allowing you to react in the most appropriate manner swiftly and avoid any serious incidents. New auto safety features are sophisticated in the way that they are able to be incorporated in a variety of ways. Using pre-collision technology can either allow the driver to take action when there is an upcoming hazard, or in even more advanced systems, the car itself will react to the situation by slowing down, breaking and so on.
It is imperative that the technology behind pre-collision systems is finely tuned and highly complex, as accidents are unpredictable and can happen in a variety of situations. Testing is a highly critical part of the design of these systems, the active safety system needs to operate effectively based on the signals it receives, rather than reacting to something that does not cause any threat. As a result, many of these advanced systems detect danger without solely relying on visuals and instead utilising radar systems, therefore using the detection of infrared waves that echo and travel much faster than visuals and sounds.
The use of cameras and displays in vehicles
A visually futuristic automotive feature is the concept of cameras as a replacement for side-view mirrors. It is argued that this can increase safety and is likely to become a modern feature in cars of the future, as Japanese car manufacturers are starting to implement them across the board. Side cameras erase the problem of the blind spot, which we have accepted as a common problem when driving, for many years. They also allow for the improvement of a car’s aerodynamic qualities and reduce noise whilst driving. This paired with the introduction of inexpensive digital camera systems means that there’s a real possibility such features will become common practice in the automotive industry.
The use of surround-view cameras are relatively common features in modern cars, which provide the driver with a 360 degree view of their car and surroundings in real time. This technology incorporates the use of a monitor, upon which the driver has a birds-eye view of the car and the surrounding elements, showing moving images, road markings, oncoming vehicles and objects. Advanced systems also provide warnings when you are too close and can assist the driver when parking, contributing to the increasing use of technology for safety improvements in vehicles.
Many modern cars have also improved their in-car displays much further than implementing touch screen technology. In fact, one feature that is becoming commonplace in luxury cars is the touchscreen that does not need to be touched. Such screens simply respond to the user’s gestures and hand movements, without the need to touch the screen itself. The display has sensors integrated into the design which respond to such movements and activate the display’s surface with ease.
When looking towards far-fetched futuristic display concepts in cars, Nissan designed a concept car named Teatro with advanced touch-screen displays built into the seats. This allows passengers to play games and chat online, essentially turning the car into a moving tablet. The touch screens are able to accommodate video chats, live streams and video games whilst also providing the user with information about the car itself.
The Connected Car
The connected car is a vehicle that is fully-equipped with wireless internet access and local area networks. This allows the driver to interact with their vehicle in a variety of ways, making the journey more pleasant and functional. Using network service, cars will be able to take advantage of a whole range of services from unlocking doors, checking the status and maintenance requirements of your vehicle, and using hands-free services including fuel payments and much more.
Shell and Jaguar Land Rover, together with MOBGEN, part of Accenture Digital, have recently released their very own in-car payments system which simply requires the user to connect the Shell app to their InControl Apps dashboard system. Users are able to locate the nearest shell station, confirm which pump they are at, and pre-authorise using Apple Pay or PayPal. All the driver has to do is fill up, view the receipt and leave.
The connected car incorporates a vast range of different services, from entertainment, to home integration and vehicle management, having such advanced technologies connected into your vehicle gives you the ability to use network connection to make your driving experiences more enjoyable. While entertainment features in vehicles are not a new phenomenon, the idea that you can move connectivity to the car itself and not have to rely on a smartphone is what really makes this unique.
At MOBGEN, our combination of creativity and innovation allows us to work together to bring new and improved technologies to the automotive industry. We look forward to being involved in what comes next!