What's in store?

* The future of driving * Safety and comfort systems * What will it cost the motorist?...

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What Car? Staff
24 Feb 2009 08:58 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

What's in store?
Imagine being able to drive a car with your eyes shut. Daft? It's something that 'futurologist' Ian Pearson who has worked with blue chip firms such as BT and Sony Ericsson to spot technological developments that affect their business strategies thinks is entirely plausible.

For example, University of Washington scientists have made contact lenses that can put computer-generated information directly into our eyes. It is likely to be used by the military first, but Pearson believes this technology could be used by drivers.

'You might have scanners looking through fog so, rather than just a grey blur, you could see a child crossing the road flashing red,' Pearson says. 'These contact lenses could also project images directly onto your retina so, theoretically, you could drive with your eyes shut.'

BMW already has head-up displays and, like Mercedes, cameras that can see pedestrians through fog. Simply put this all onto the contact lens and you could see farther into the dark with your eyes shut than you could with them open and your headlights on full beam.

That's a long way off, but it's easier to see how today's adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and self-steering systems could soon take over the job of motorway driving, packing cars into high-speed lanes.

Pearson says: 'With cars bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side, with only a few inches to spare, you could improve the capacity of the roads by two or three times at least.

'We'll see the first rollout of electronic lanes for suitably equipped cars between 2015 and 2020, and from there it will snowball. After all, who wants to sit in a traffic jam in a primitive car when everyone else is zooming past?'