These technologies may seem weird, but once you try them you will want them - especially the lights.
BMW Night Vision
Here at Torque News we have the dream jobs. Our panel of experts gets to test out new cars and even cars that are not yet released to the public. We compiled an informal list of our favorite technologies that we think the general public would love if they had a chance to try them. These are not yet commonplace, and may never be, but if you ever get the chance to try these gizmos do it.
1) Active Seat Bolstering. We all need a hug now and then. Mercedes Benz S-Class and SL roadster seats can do it and just when you need it most. Have you ever been sideways in a car at about 30 and then when you pitch the car back the other way you have to brace yourself? Well, maybe not, but even taking corners at legal speeds the Mercedes seats do something amazing. They push on your mid-section to keep you in the seat automatically. And it works. If you steer left and then right it quickly, it switches and bolsters you just the way you need it. The seats also massage and do other neat things, but the active bolstering is fantastic.
2) Amazing Lighting. LEDs are so last year. Every car has them now, or will soon. What is really cool is a headlight that looks farther ahead than you can see, identifies people or animals at the side of the road (or in the roadway) and then shines a super powerful spotlight just on the person or animal. BMW’s 7-series headlights do this. Other things great lights do is turn to the side as you steer so you can see where you are actually going. The Lexus RX350 does this so actively it makes steering a blast. You will try to steer more sharply just to watch the lights swing side to side. Look for amazing lighting features to continue to evolve.
3) Heads Up Display (HUD) – This technology is not really new. This is of course a digital, 3-D image shown in your field of view as you look at the roadway. Mazda had HUD many years ago on some moderately priced cars and GM offers it now on many. However, like all good things there are degrees. This technology is getting much better all of a sudden. In the past just the speed was displayed. HUDs from BMW and others can now show much more. Soon the gauges as we know them now in our dashboard will normally be dark and we will be driving using the HUD for most of what we want to know. The systems will start to show the image wherever the driver looks and what we see will be driver selectable. Will it be long before the hovering head of your ex appears when the car senses a call coming in from her (him)? We think not. How long after that before the image is in real-time? Like we said, driver selectable…
4) No More Car Stereo. No more Nav. Your smart phone, or whatever the next name for these things will be, is what will power all of your car’s cool functions. Automakers are already caught up in figuring out how to continue charging us $2500 to add Nav when a better unit is available at Radio shack for $100 on sale. Many automakers are now starting to allow the phones to take over the functionality of the main information screen in the car. It will not be long before that screen becomes a monitor only and the phone you got for free when you signed up for your data plan is running the car infotainment system.
5) Cars Stop Themselves. Scoff if you will, and call us sissies, but cars that will stop before backing over a child, like the Infiniti JX, or will stop before running into a drunk stepping out between two parked cars at night, like the Volvo XC60 can, are good things. Just think of the time saved cleaning off the car. (OK maybe that is over the line). Kidding aside, these technologies are here on pricey cars now and they work. How about a similar system that stops the car just before the driver crashes through a store front and then e-mails a photo of the driver’s foot firmly on the gas pedal? That would sure have been handy technology for Toyota and Audi to have had in the past.
These are just some of the current and coming features the Torque News team thinks drivers will love. If you have others you’ve seen please comment below.