Cars that drive themselves may seem like a long way down the road. But the government is already preparing for the journey into the future. It is encouraging ideas for new infrastructure such as the smart pavement that take advantage of the so-called smart car.
One innovation that has caught the attention of experts is a new type of road. This employs embedded LED lighting technology to indicate a change of use.
Called FlexKerb, it is to be trialled in London. By using colour coding it can adapt according to traffic demands at different times of day.
Its creators say it could change from a cycle lane to a parking and charging bay for driverless vehicles depending on real-time traffic conditions and local infrastructure needs.
In the Hollywood blockbuster X-Men franchise, Patrick Stewart plays Professor Charles Xavier, who can read minds to help defeat the bad guys. Now one car maker claims to have developed real mind-reading technology that could help drivers to avoid accidents.
Nissan says it has developed brain-reading technology that not only works but could be fitted to cars within the next five to 10 years. It revealed the innovation at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
It means people may one day be able to ‘drive’ their car using little more than their thoughts. Pull on your thinking cap and find out all about ‘brain-to-vehicle’ technology.
What does Nissan know that we don’t?
At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, there was a glimmer of hope for anyone who thinks flying cars represent the future of personal transport. A company called AeroMobil, based in Slovakia, displayed its latest vision of a winged wonder. The good news is, thanks to advances in technology, it stands a healthy chance of reaching the runway.
Then there’s the news that this week, Dubai completed a test flight of the world’s first pilotless flying taxi, developed by Volocopter. Meanwhile Uber, the technology company that has disrupted the taxi industry, has signed deals with five companies that are developing air taxis and momentum is building.
The AeroMobil might be eye-wateringly expensive, but the market is surprisingly competitive and some big names from worldwide industry are joining the race, meaning costs are likely to fall. Here we look at how the flying car is spreading its wings, with four of the most promising models from around the world.
Some Volvos now have Pilot Assist which takes complete control at low speeds (Picture © Volvo)
Driverless cars will be a reality within a decade and a proposed new bill that’s part of the Queen’s Speech will pave the way for it. The Queen has revealed legislation that will be introduced to allow driverless cars to be insured with regular policies. The government hopes it will result in cars that are autonomous (control themselves) becoming a common sight by 2025.
Currently, the insurance industry believes 94 per cent of crashes are caused by human error. Driverless cars would cut this figure significantly. Independent organisation Thatcham Research, which works with the insurers to assess how expensive cars are to repair, has put together this timeline on how we’ll move into a world of driverless cars. Continue reading