Recent years have seen giant strides being taken towards building smarter cars that are far more efficient, safe and packed to the gills with productivity tools. We know how much wizardry can be packed into a 5-inch smartphone; now imagine how much can be inserted under the hood of your car! Smart or connected cars are the next big frontier for digital innovation. Here's a quick list of features that we think 'connected cars' of the very near future might boast of.
Advanced biometrics: In the future, man and machine will become one. Almost, anyway. Advanced biometric tools will enable a car to identify drivers through facial recognition, fingerprints, voice and pulse. This could help in making vehicles carjack-proof, or in identifying if the owner is too ill, or even if they're too drunk to drive! So unlike the police constable at the nakabandi, you would no longer be able to cajole your car into letting you drive if you've had one drink too many!
Car health monitoring: All drivers, at some point, have missed servicing appointments, or put off repairs. Smart car analytics software will notify you both in the car, and through connected devices like your phone, about urgent issues that need your attention.
Advanced digital dashboards: We've all seen those futuristic-looking HUDs (heads-up displays) in movies, right? Soon, they could be present all over transparent surfaces in the car, such as the windshield or side windows. These displays could show all kinds of information like temperature, speed, upcoming turns, the traffic situation ahead, and much more. Who would need assistants anymore? Just pop into your car for a bit and you'd be all set for the day!
Car-to-car communication: Future cars will not only talk to drivers, but also to other cars. For example, if a car abruptly stalls, or gets into an accident, it could warn other cars behind to slow down, or take an alternate route. Thus, car-to-car communication could reduce congestion and bring about far better coordination and efficiency on the road. Ca(r)n't say no to that!
E-commerce and marketing integration: Just like phones, marketers might be able to track your car's location based on your preferences (e.g. a coffee shop/mall you regularly drive to), and send customised in-car advertisements or offers. If your first reaction is: "Great, more notifications is just what I needed!", don't worry. You can also use these features to book a spa appointment, shop for shoes or even apply for a loan! All this just while driving to work! Can you say productive mornings?
Alternate fuels: Due to global rising pollution levels, intensive research is being conducted on zero-emission cars. Technologies like electric, solar and hydrogen-powered cars are already in production, but are expensive and require heavy maintenance. Therefore, scientists are looking at biofuels and nitrogen as alternatives. Sustainability FTW! Even more exciting is the study of channeling heat/kinetic energy generated by vehicles into actual power sources. Now, wouldn't that be seriously cool?
If your mind is already blown at all these amazing possibilities, there's news for you. You need not wait much longer to see India's first connected car as we hear that Tata Motors is unveiling their first innovation under newly launched sub-brand TAMO, at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show on 7th March. The Company has also announced their collaboration with Microsoft to develop a fully connected car experience and the digital ecosystem surrounding cars.
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