Smart phones, smart TVs, smart homes….smart cars? The world loves technology, and the auto industry is delivering. One of the hottest issues in auto news right now is automated cars – vehicles that computerize certain features, or simply get rid of the need for human drivers completely. As with any technological movement, driverless cars are praised by some and dreaded by others; which direction do you lean? Will smart cars make for dumb drivers or safe roads?
Car Manufacturers Design Different Levels of Smart
Did you know that 10 different car companies, and several tech giants, are demonstrating the benefits of car automation at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week? That means 10 different prototypes with unique and futuristic features. So who is in on the smart car technology?
Each has been announcing and will be showing the world their take on the future of the automotive world. Valeo, a leading tech company, has worked with several of these manufacturers on current vehicle features. They helped design a car that can stop, slow down and accelerate on its own, predicting that this will hit the market in about 5 years.
From Practicality to Luxury
The Audi uses some recognized technologies for their version of the smart car. Think lasers, 3D cameras, and radars. These are not meant to be fully automated cars, but rather designed for freeway driving.
On the other side of the scales is the Mercedes, long recognized as a leader in luxury. The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion may set a whole new standard for the term, though. Fast Company, a technology orientated business media producer, describes the automated Mercedes as “Bruce Wayne’s ride”. This smart car model sets a high bar for extravagance with features like:
- 4 seats that can spin to face each other
- Touchscreen displays
- Hardwood flooring
- Dashboard foldable steering wheel
- LED lights
- Driverless AND drivable
It is this last element that makes the Mercedes prototype stand apart from the other driverless possibilities, because Mercedes believes that such an invention should marry the best of both worlds. Just in case a person still wants the option of driving themselves…
A Unique Take on Windshield Wipers
Google, on the other hand, went the complete opposite direction. Google driverless cars were the first in the playing field, and are fully automated with no need or no preference for a human driver. Weird fact – the Google smart car’s windshield wipers are on the roof, or what resembles a roof. This is because this is where the car ‘sees’, although it does include a regular windshield.
So what if a person in this automated car wanted to see what’s going on when it’s raining? This has raised discussion about whether windshield wipers are even needed in potentially driverless vehicles. But just because the car doesn’t need to see doesn’t mean people don’t want to.
Cars that drive themselves may sound like a crazy science fiction movie plot, but these prototypes and new technologies show us that this is not that far in the future after all. In fact, California is expected to legalize driverless cars this year, although the Mercedes version isn’t expected to reach the public for another 15 years.
No matter the many differing opinions about this latest venture of the auto industry, it is quickly becoming a reality. Sure, it may be hard to believe, but not impossible. After all, there once was a time that no one had ever heard of heated windshield wipers. Everblades is proud to make driving safer for people everywhere. Do you think automated cars will do the same?