In a time when advancements in automotive technology are taking place at a furious pace, it’s interesting to glimpse at what future vehicles – driverless or not – may have in store. Some technological advances are already being implemented, while others are farther off. Here’s a look at some of the new automotive technology here now or coming.
Goodyear’s Eagle 360 Concept Tires – They’re not really tires in the traditional sense, but the concepts being developed by Goodyear, the Eagle 360, are spheres that are quite radical, profoundly groundbreaking (pun not intended), and may be an indicator of where tires for vehicles are going.
First of all, the Eagle 360s aren’t mounted to an axle. Magnetic levitation suspends them beneath the car. This allows for fluid lateral movement, and the tires can go in any direction. The company says a sponge like groove design that softens when wet allows tires to hold onto wet road. Furthermore, sensors in the tires constantly monitor road conditions and adjust the car’s speed as necessary. The tires are also networked, notifying following cars what to expect. Other sensors track wear and rearrange positions of the spheres in order to maximize performance and extend their life.
Just don’t expect to see the Eagle 360 on conventional cars. The amount of information they present would be far too distracting to a driver. Instead, they’re meant for fully autonomous cars. But they’re definitely cool.
Volvo Will Built Cars Without Keys in 2017 – Volvo says it will be the world’s first car manufacturer to offer cars without traditional keys starting in 2017. The Swedish company will pilot the program via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at the Gothenburg airport. A small number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the technology in 2017.
Instead of accessing and driving cars with a physical key in hand, Volvo’s customers will be offered a smartphone app that contains a digital key. Volvo says this new technology offers customers the ability to do everything a physical key does now, such as door and trunk locking and unlocking, starting the engine, etc., and also permits customers to have more than one digital key on their app. This helps with multi-car families.
Customers will also be able to potentially book and pay for a rental car and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. Sharing a car in families will be more convenient and simple since Volvo owners can send their digital key to other people via their smart phone.
Ford Will Offer its First Windshield De-Icer in Escape SUV in U.S. – In snow belt areas, accumulation of snow and ice can be hazardous on the road and difficult to remove on starting a vehicle. Now, owners of the 2017Titanium equipped with cold weather package will be able to melt ice and snow from the windshield wiper blades in under 10 minutes at temperatures of minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, owners of the 2017 Escape equipped with SYNC® Connect can activate the wiper de-icer from their smartphone as part of their FordPass experience.
All we can say is, hooray for no more wiper blades caked in ice or frozen to the windshield. The 2017Titanium will be in dealerships this spring – a little after the winter weather, but who knows, you might want to take a late spring ski trip to some wintry climate.
2017 Ford Super Duty Offers Trailer Reverse Guidance – Customers of Ford’s heavy-duty trucks now have considerable help backing up with the introduction of the innovative trailer reverse guidance system in the 2017 Ford Super Duty. The system includes a total of seven digital cameras and two trailer tow patents. The cameras help drivers see more angles, monitor the entire area around the truck and coach drivers in backing up a trailer.
Ford says these cameras are more than just digital rearview mirrors.
- The tailgate camera tracks the truck’s motion as it backs up. This helps coach drivers to back up safely.
- As the angle of the truck trailer changes, two side view cameras shift the view.
- Ford is also offering the first factory-available customer-placed camera that can be attached to the back of a pickup to improve driver visibility when backing up.
GM’s Full-Size Trucks Offer eAssist Technology – A limited number of the full-size mild hybrid pickup trucks from Chevrolet and GMC, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and 2016 GMC Sierra will be available in California with new eAssist technology starting this spring. The eAssist technology helps the trucks achieve up to 13 percent greater city fuel economy.
The eAssist powertrain system will be exclusively available on the two-wheel drive 2016crew cab in 1LT trim and on the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT crew cab two-wheel drive models with SLT Premium Plus package. The 5.3-liter eAssist engine produces a GM-estimated 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The system pairs the engine with a compact lithium-ion battery pack.
Initially, Chevrolet will offer 500 Silverado eAssist trucks, and GMC will offer 200 Sierra eAssist trucks to California dealers for the 2016 model year. Chevy and GMC will adjust production for 2017 models depending on feedback from initial customers.
Cadillac Rear Camera Mirror System – First seen in the Cadillac CT6 a few months back, the innovative rear camera mirror system in the all-new 2017 Cadillac XT5 is perhaps even more impressive because it’s in a luxury family crossover. While it may take a little time to get used to, the immediate effect is spectacular. Typical rearview mirror obstructions, such as the heads of passengers seated in the rear, seat headrests, and roof pillars, disappear. With a rear camera powering the XT5’s rearview mirror, the result is a 300-percent increase in rear visibility. Reverting to normal rearview display is easily accomplished with the flip of a switch. To get the rear camera mirror system, however, you’ll need to choose the top-of-the-line Platinum model, which carries a starting price of $62,500. The system is standard in Platinum and not available on base, Luxury, or Premium Luxury trims.