When it comes to the automotive technology of the future, it seems that all anyone ever talks about is autonomous, or driver-less, cars. And while that technology may come to fruition somewhere down the line, it’s safe to say that it’s much more of a pipe dream than it is a reality… at least heading in to 2016.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t some very cool technologies on tap for the New Year. We take a look at some of the gadgets and tech that’s likely to make a big splash in 2016 here.
Automotive Gadgets and New Technologies to Watch for in 2016
- Finned Tires: Sustainability is a hot topic in the auto industry as of late, and developing vehicles to be more fuel efficient is a big part of that initiative. That’s where the concept of finned tires come in. Researchers at Yokohama have hypothesized that finned tires can help reduce aerodynamic drag, which thereby increases a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. It’s unclear how much of a fuel savings finned tires may be able to provide just yet, but if there’s one thing that’s been consistent over the years, it’s automakers incorporating fuel saving technology into vehicles, no matter how little or how much each one saves. It all adds up.
- GPS Baby Monitor: You’ve probably heard of blind spot detection by now. Heck, there’s a good chance you drive a car with blind spot detection incorporated into it. But if you’re a parent, you know that one blind spot inside of your vehicle is your baby or toddler in the back seat. Yes, you can shimmy the rear view mirror or crane your neck to take a peak, but that’s not exactly safe when you’re going 65 mph on the local interstate. But Garmin has a solution to this with a new accessory that mounts to a headrest to provide a live feed of a backseat child right into the GPS.
- Welcome Lighting: This technology is making its debut on BMW’s new 7 Series, but could soon be integrated into many more vehicle platforms-welcome lighting. Yes, now very strategically placed LEDs are designed to “light the path” a few feet away from the front door to your BMW car. It’s a neat little accessory that essentially rolls out a red (err white) carpet of sorts for the driver, not to mention make it safer when you’re meandering darkened parking lots looking for your vehicle at night.
- Forward Collision Warning Dash Cam: Dash cams are nothing new, and many people incorporate them onto their dash cams for liability purposes in the event that they’re ever involved in a car accident. But now, thanks to Garmin, these dash cams may not just be recording accidents-but helping prevent them. That’s because Garmin’s latest dash cam, the Dash Cam 35, also contains forward collision warning features.
- Traffic Light Timer: Most people keep an eye on the cross walk signals to better determine whether they should expect to slow down when they’re nearing a stoplight. But that’s not always an accurate indicator. BMW, however, is coming out with traffic light timers within the vehicle’s display. It’s all powered by an app, but the point of these timers is to unquestionably reduce potentially unnecessary acceleration-which can save on fuel-and better help drivers determine whether they can make that stop light-which can increase safety.
What do many of these new automotive gadgets and technologies poised for a breakthrough have in common? Simple-they help make driving safer. However, it’s likely that at some point in your life, you’ve been cited for what’s been considered “unsafe driving,” whether that means blowing a traffic light, speeding, failing to yield or not stopping at a stop sign. But being cited doesn’t just mean that you’ll have to pay a ticket-it also means that you’ll get hit with points on your license. That’s where a defensive driving course can come in handy, as in most cases, successfully completing one will prevent any points from appearing on your license, and thereby keep your insurance rates in check.