Cars with semi-autonomous features and enhanced driver assistance have moved from the world of science-fiction to the reality of the showroom floor over the last few years. Several car manufacturers are leading the way with everything from blind spot detectors to autonomous parking, steering, speed matching and even passing.
So what does this mean for the future of driving? Clearly, the race is on!
Options that come as standard today have already set the standard for the new normal. Back up cameras are effectively standard with just about every vehicle you buy today. Blind spot and impact or accident detection are increasingly common as well.
Computer software has been around for more than two decades, and touch screens are common on most models today, including economy cars that offer touch screen GPS, hands-free Bluetooth, and now even wi-fi hotspots built in.
Today’s car companies are already upping the ante to offer enhanced driver assistance that borders on full autonomy.
The all-new Volvo XC90, for example, boasts convenience features like a heated windshield and spray nozzles and power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors all the way to safety options like surround-view parking cameras and auto-assist and sensors that warn you when you’re drifting out of your lane.
Tesla, Acura, Kia and Ford all offer similar options in their latest models with Tesla at the head of the pack. The 2015 Tesla Model S P85D boasts every convenience you can imagine plus the option to engage hands-free lane changing on the highway by simply turning on your turn signal.
What Lies Ahead?
Developments in the current car market prove that we’re not far off from a future when many cars will be modeled after the now famous Google self-driving car. Tech giant Apple has already made the iCar the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley. Rumors have spread that they’re scouting out test sites for a prototype and that its features will include semi-autonomous features as well as a cleaner electric fuel system making it one of the smartest and greenest options for drivers.
Even the way we review cars is undergoing a shift in thinking. There was a day when car reviews were found solely within industry associated blogs, magazines and shows. But today, reviews are just as likely to come from PC Mag as they are from Auto Trader. Clearly, the driving landscape is changing and now the only question is how long before fully autonomous vehicles make drivers the optional accessory.