6. Parental controls
Technology that gives parents more control over the driving habits of their teenage children has started to emerge in some recent vehicles produced by General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, and Toyota. As cars become more computerized, this technology is likely to become more common, if not standard, in the near future. This technology allows parents to monitor various safety metrics, including top speed, distance driven, and the number of times the car issued a forward collision warning. Some features allow parents to set top speeds, car stereo volume limits, and even disable the car during certain set hours.
7. Partial Automation
Today, cars equipped with adaptive cruise control — a more advanced version of the standard cruise control that has been around for decades — can automatically adjust speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, and in some cases change lanes and engage in highway merges. This partial automation is already appearing in some high-end car models like Mercedes-Benz and Tesla. In the near future, partial automation will no doubt become more standard in cars more people can afford.
8. Pedestrian/cyclist detection
Crash avoidance systems are becoming commonplace, in part because some of the world’s largest automakers agreed in 2015 to make automatic emergency braking standard in their vehicles. Technology like AEB and forward-collision warning systems have proven to reduce accidents. But these and other features are focused mainly on protecting drivers and passengers. Systems that use cameras and radars specifically to protect pedestrians and cyclists is the next obvious step. German supplier Bosch has developed one such system that can detect pedestrians or cyclists within a 20-meter (66-foot) radius and rapidly deploy emergency braking if it detects that a collision is imminent.
9. Side cameras
You see them on concept cars at auto shows, but they do not have the regulatory approval (yet) to be used on the road. Still, the days of vehicle side mirrors are waning, much to the relief of car designers who have always viewed them as a necessary but intrusive design elements. Small cameras can and will replace these side mirrors, projecting their images onto a dashboard or screen or HUD display, allowing drivers to more easily see their blind spots. The technology exists but awaits government regulators to set the standards.
10. Smart tires
Most innovations in tire technology are perhaps less obvious for the average driver who sees only a chunk of inflatable rubber that costs a few hundred dollars to replace every few years. Manufacturers are constantly tweaking tires in largely unnoticed ways to reduce rolling resistance (which improves fuel economy) and noise while maintaining necessary traction. But the tires of the near future will become connected to the vehicle with integrated sensors that will take current tire-pressure sensor technology to the next level, giving drivers more information about the tires like tread wear and tire temperature.