Cool and highly advanced car tech that you’d expect to find in the Batmobile
The motoring industry has produced some amazing car technologies in the past few years, some of which you may not even be aware exist. From features that increase your car’s safety, to unnecessary tech that just makes your car a lot cooler, these 5 wonders will make heated steering wheels and active cruise control look archaic.
Car-summoning. No rituals necessary.
You can’t get more Batmobile than this! As Tesla fans will already know, this technology already exists in their models and it allows for the car to come to you all by itself. It may sound cool, but at the moment this is limited to just a few feet, meaning that the car cannot pick you up from the other side of town. Instead, the feature is currently used for getting the car out of tight car park or garage spaces so you can then enter the vehicle easier, by being able to open the door fully.
At the moment, it’s a cool little trick that eliminates the inconvenience of having to squeeze yourself through a half-opened car door, but in the future car-summoning could become much, much more. Self-driving tech that allows for cars to navigate busy streets by themselves already exists, so the only thing stopping empty cars from driving miles to get to you and pick you up are safety concerns and regulations. Give it ten or fifteen years and we could be summoning our cars to come and get us after a day of shopping or a night out drinking, then to be driven straight home by your autonomous and intelligent motor.
Orbital camera view, so you don’t hit that low bollard
Beeping car sensors are now caveman technology and rear-view parking cameras are pretty commonplace. So what’s the latest sci-fi invention to grace the parking world? A full 360° camera view, that’s what.
Currently found in the 2019 Audi A7, 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom and some of BMW 7 Series models, this tech uses all of the cameras placed around the car to stitch together a fairly accurate 360-degree video. Both birds-eye-view and “orbital” views are available, meaning you no longer have to get out and walk around your car to check that you’re not on the double yellow lines. What a time to be alive.
Matrix LED lighting
You just know that when the feature has the word “matrix” in it, it’s going to be some next-level stuff. Say goodbye to lightbulbs and hello to LEDs – they last longer, look nicer and are much cleverer. Although LED headlights are nothing new, the technology is still be used in increasingly creative ways. The new Audi A8 is stirring up a fuss at the moment as one of the pioneers of this matrix lighting tech which is improving road safety at night.
If you were to be driving on a dark, windy country road, the matrix lights would follow the curve of the road so that the road ahead is lit, resulting in maximum visibility on corners. When you pass a car on the other side of the road, your fancy Audi A8 will prevent blinding the driver by creating a gap in the light so that the beam is directed around the oncoming car, rather than at their eyes. If there’s a hazard in the road such as a deer or pedestrian, the headlights will flash them to raise your awareness so that the hazard is seen in time. These self-adjusting smart LEDs are making standard high/low beam bulbs look very outdated indeed, too bad they’re only currently available in a £70,000 car.
Folding and leaning spoilers – for the track goers
Here’s one for the sports car fans. You may be familiar with reactive spoilers, such as the one belonging to the famous McLaren P1, but have you seen wings that lean with the bend or fold themselves up? The Porsche Panamera has a spoiler that doesn’t just pop out, but folds and unfolds itself as well, like it was designed by Iron Man himself.
Going one step beyond that is the spoiler sitting on the back of the Zenvo TSR-S. The Danish car manufacturer, which you’ve probably never heard of, have created a wing so smart that it tilts left on right turns and tilts right on left turns. In more simpler words, it leans with the corners to create more downforce and greater grip for the appropriate rear wheel (left or right) depending on the turn. Not only does it grant the car greater handling but it looks incredibly cool doing it.
Setting your car’s temperature from your phone
Controlling various features of your car from your phone is already a fairly standard function of the BMW i3, various Tesla models and many other EVs. For most of us, it would be a dream to control functions such as your car’s temperature, locking, unlocking, lights, horn and more from your phone. Imagine waking up on a frosty morning and turning your car’s heating on from your phone, whilst still lying in bed and then finding your car fully defrosted and toasty when you leave the house 30 minutes later.
This “preconditioning” feature, as BMW call it, is already available as an extra for a few ICE cars (internal combustion engine – i.e. petrol/diesel), but much more common in electric vehicles. As well as warming up your car before you get to it, you could use your phone to unlock and lock your car in place of keys or see the GPS location of your car if you forgot where you parked it.
Did you know that matrix LED lighting isn’t allowed on cars in the US due to their regulations? Read more about the difference between UK and US car regulations here.
Did we miss any cool car features that people long for? Let us know in the comments.