Top Gear Tech Trends: A Lens on the Cars of Tomorrow

The coolest new development on a car was once the windshield wiper. These revolutionary devices made it possible to actually see where you were going even when it was raining — an astounding feat for the time. Fast forward to the vehicles of tomorrow and vision is still king, though petty wiper blades pale in comparison to the camera and display technology that’s worked its way into design. The automotive industry is the perfect venue for technological exploration, and the convergence of photography and video is something motorists find incredibly exciting.

Classic Car

Practical Uses for Vehicle Cameras

One of the first practical uses for cameras in cars was to help drivers spot obstacles behind a car when the vehicle was in reverse. Now, cars will warn you if you are drifting out of your lane, if something is in your blind spot and if you seem to be sleepy among other things. The 2013 Nissan Altima has taken these capabilities a step further by integrating them all into a single camera, but this model doesn’t stop there. It also includes an automatic cleaning system for the camera’s lens, according to CNET. This system will regularly spurt a drop of washer fluid onto the lens and blow it dry with compressed air, keeping the camera in proper working condition for years to come. When was the last time your DSLR camera did that?

2013 Nissan Altima @ the 2012 New York International Auto Show

Photo of 2013 Nissan Atlima at the 2012 New York International Auto Show by LotPro Cars via Flickr

Other Key Developments

Fancy cameras in the Altima aren’t the only things you’ll find at dealerships in Surprise and other cities this next year. The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was full of exciting new developments for automobiles, MSN Autos reported. Porsche, for example, is offering an app that will provide drivers with 30,000 sources of entertainment content. This content ranges from Internet radio and audio books to integrated Google search.

  • Another new car, the Tesla Model S is, in itself, a technological wonder. It’s an all-electric sports car that can go from 0 to 60 in just 5.6 seconds. Inside the cockpit, you’ll find a completely digital layout that features a 17-inch touchscreen display. Using Wi-Fi, you can even surf the web on the screen. That doesn’t mean that you can do so while driving, Laptop Mag notes. Tesla Motors made sure that the Internet connection only works while the car is in park.
  • The 2013 Ford Fusion is another excellent example of a car that brings many high-tech developments together. It looks great, is highly fuel-efficient, and includes perks like its Lane Keeping System. It also has the MyFord Touch console, which uses a digital display for common readouts, Laptop Mag stated. You can even connect your smart phone via Bluetooth for hands-free operation. This system will read out your texts as well as allow you to talk, so you never have to take your eyes off the road.
  • Chrysler is unwilling to be outdone by the fancier car makers. Its latest entry into the high-tech world includes an integrated navigation system. The company believes drivers will appreciate the design of the new system and avoid the clutter, inconvenience and distraction of balancing separate devices. The new system will first be offered in the 2013 Ram 1500, 2014 Fiat 500L and 2013 SRT Viper, according to MSN Autos.

MyFord Touch - 2013 Ford Flex SEL AWD

Photo of MyFord Touch in 2013 Ford Flex SEL by Michael Sheehan via Flickr

While most of this year’s automotive advancements involve digitization of systems that used to be analog, it’s clear that some automakers have worked hard to integrate camera-based systems and the computers needed to process the resulting visual information. This will make driving safer and more fun both now and in the years to come. We can only imagine how the cameras and phones of tomorrow will weigh in on the automotive decisions of next year.

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