Under the Hood
Under the Hood

Car Features that Will Be Standard In the Future

by Leila Parker 2 years ago in design

Traffic violations, accidents, bad parking jobs, and bored rear seat passengers will become a thing of the past with these car features that will be standard in the future.

Car Features that Will Be Standard In the Future

Driving is on its way to becoming hands-free. We may be quite a ways away from driving cars that fly, but the driving experience is undoubtedly safer and more enjoyable than it was a few years ago.

Here is a list of car features that will be standard in the future. Traffic violations, accidents, bad parking jobs, and bored rear seat passengers will become a thing of the past.

Some people already own high-end cars with these features. Since it's in the entire public's best interest for there to be more safe cars on the road, it shouldn't take long for the features on this list to become more accessible to everyone. Pretty soon, you won't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a Mercedes Benz to reap the benefits of the robust technological advances in the automobile industry.

Dashboard camera sales have been on a consumer-led rise for about a decade now, and you can expect for them to become an integrated standard feature in cars very soon.

Dash cam sales in the US are expected to make a 20 percent increase between 2017 and 2018. Dash cams are one of the most popular car accessories out there, and the reason for this is not a mystery; dash cams make it very difficult for people to get away with reckless behavior on the road, and they also record some amazing natural phenomenon, such as the meteor in the video above.

Dash cams are usually sold as a car accessory, separate from the car itself. But, as far as car accessories go, they are already standard equipment for motorists, so we can expect dash cams to come fully integrated with new car models. Soon, they'll be as standard as a headrest!

Forgetting to dip your headlights isn’t just annoying; it’s dangerous. Doing so not only puts other drivers at risk of temporary blindness, but it's also essential to change your beam settings when driving during heavy rain, fog, or other environmental situations where visibility is affected.

Yet we still forget.

Automatic beams were introduced as a new tech feature in the 1950s when General Motors introduced the “Autronic Eye,” which automatically dipped headlights but didn’t turn them back up to full.

The concept evolved quite a bit until the 80s when new reflective yellow signs on the road tricked the automatic headlights into dipping and the automatic headlights were discontinued.

We’ve learned a lot since then. In the future, our cars will do all the remembering for us so that we can keep our eyes on the road and our hands on the steering wheel while driving.

Fatigue Sensors

Photo by Rudyanto Wijaya

Don’t let all the great tech features I’ve already listed make you think that driving is so easy and hands-free that you might as well sit back and take a nap behind the wheel.

It doesn’t matter how many external sensors your car has for preventing collisions. You (the driver) must still be alert at all times.

That’s why it will become standard for cars to have additional sensors internally to make sure you’re not falling asleep at the steering wheel.

If you’ve bought a Mercedes Benz or BMW recently, you might already have this feature. But pretty soon, you won’t have to buy such a high-end car to reap the benefits of this safety feature.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Image via mentor.com

When I bought my Volvo in 1999, one of its coolest features was that it beeped at me if I was about to reverse into an object. I thought my car was as advanced as they could get.

I was wrong. ADAS tech features have become much more robust since then. The next few features in the list are some of the most useful ADAS components that will become standard.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Image via Lexus

Blind spot monitors detect objects and movements on the driver’s side of the car and the rear—some can even alert you of crossing traffic on both sides of your vehicle.

Blind spot monitoring is especially useful when you’re backing out of a parking spot where you’re unable to see approaching traffic.

But don't ditch your blind spot mirrors just yet. It's important to understand the limitations of this tech feature, and there are still quite a few improvements that need to be made as blind spot monitoring becomes standard.

For now, you shouldn't depend on blind spot monitoring to detect bicycles, pedestrians, and fast-moving vehicles. And, unfortunately, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 80 percent of drivers were unaware of these limitations.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Image via Honda

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) helps you keep a safe distance from cars in front of you by sensing the proximity of nearby vehicles and adjusting your car's speed.

Also known as an autonomous cruise control system, this feature makes long journeys on busy highways way less stressful for drivers. When it becomes standard, adaptive cruise control will help decrease road traffic.

This tech feature has been evolving since Mitsubishi introduced it in its rudimentary form in 1992 which warned motorists when they were getting too close to other vehicles. If the model year of your car is later than 2000, it probably has some form of ACC already built into it.

Collision Avoidance

Image via gabi.com

Most new car models have collision warning systems already. As I said, even my Volvo from the 90s has a collision warning system. Today, cars with this safety feature can detect objects and warn you of their proximity by beeping at you or showing an alarm on your heads-up display.

There will be situations where the car can’t stop you from crashing. That's why owners of cars with this feature need to be aware of the collision warning feature's limitations. For example, most collision warning sensors are currently only located on the front of a vehicle, which makes sense since rear-ending is a common accident.

But, if you do get into a car accident, your car might call emergency services for you.

Automatic Emergency Braking

Pretty soon, reaction time will no longer be part of the braking distance equation. At least, you won’t have to worry about your reaction time because your car will do all the reacting for you. All thanks to automatic emergency braking.

Automatic emergency braking systems are a great safety feature for all drivers. They work by linking motion and object sensors to your car's brake controls in order to avoid high-speed collisions.

Around 95 percent of cars with this safety feature have the sensors attached to only their front brakes. We may have to wait a bit longer for rear-facing automatic brakes to become a standard feature, but the way things are going, they might not be too far away.

Lane Keeping Assist

Image via Honda

Say goodbye to holding up traffic while making multiple failed attempts to park. Better yet, bid farewell to wasting time looking for empty parking spots because some idiot took up the last two spaces with their lousy parking job.

Lane keeping assist systems keep your car in the center of your lane. But don't take your hands off the steering wheel just yet; the caveat is that the lines on the road must be clear and visible for lane keeping assist to work, and you still need to maintain control of your vehicle.

Cars with lane keeping assist warn you when you're drifting lanes by beeping at you or flashing lights on your heads up display and dashboard. Some newer models even guide you back into a safe position if you start to go askew.

Stop-Start Engines

Image via pexels.com

Stop-start engines are a great gas-saving innovation for people who live in or commute to cities. They do just as their name suggests: They turn the engine off and on automatically, preventing you from wasting fuel when you're stuck in traffic.

This tech feature isn't a particularly new innovation. Considering that stop-start engines were first introduced by Volkswagen in the 1980s, it's taken a while for them to kick off. But the demand for efficient cars is growing with climate change concerns, and improvements to technology are making stop-start engines accessible enough to be a standard feature.

Stop-start systems turn your engine off when you stop the car and shift to neutral. When you push down on your clutch and shift gears, it'll start back up again. If you drive an automatic, the stop-start engine will shut down when you brake to a full stop with your footbrake.

Keyless Entry

This tech feature is going to make loading and unloading cars much easier.

Got your hands full with groceries? Maybe you’re the kind of person who spends more time in search of your keys than you spend behind the wheel? You’re not alone just yet, but if you don’t upgrade to a car with smart keys sometime soon, you very well might be.

The secure motion sensors in smart keys put an end to the traditional way of locking, entering, and starting your car.

If you think that sounds crazy and insecure, you could be right. Since smart keys use a computer, your car could be stolen by a robber who also happens to be an excellent computer hacker. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

With the way things are going, it would be at all surprising if car keys became obsolete—we'll probably replace them with our phones in the future!

Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Image via CNet

Remember when CD and tape players were a standard feature in cars? Well, they're probably going to be replaced by infotainment systems like Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Car manufacturers have had to work around society's smartphone craze to keep us safe and entertained while we drive. That’s why it’s crucial for cars to be able to integrate features like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Until these integrations come standard, there are a variety of digital receivers with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that you can buy separately.

With these integrations, you can get all the information and entertainment—directions, news, and music—you need without lifting a finger or moving an eyeball.

Just tell your car what music you want to listen to, ask it where the nearest Starbucks is, or ask it to turn on the news or your favorite podcast. Your wish is your car's command!

4G WiFi Hotspots

At this point, access to the internet is basically a human right. But it's taken us a while to get stable internet connections from our cars.

It’s been about 20 years since wifi modems became standard equipment in households, but that was easy to do because homes tend to stay in one place.

Wifi is a car feature that will be standard very soon. It keeps kids occupied in the rear seat, and it’s one that we will soon be unable to live without. Even if your car doesn’t come with wifi, you can buy an individual modem and a plan for relatively cheap.

I know, wifi and Bluetooth are notorious for killing batteries. Have no fear—each seat will have at least one USB port to prevent this from happening.

design
Leila Parker
Leila Parker
Read next: 'Stop! We're Going to Crash'
Leila Parker

Newly graduated Industrial-Organizational Psychologist. I'm a cyclist who works, thinks and writes about workplace culture, behavior and self-motivation.

See all posts by Leila Parker