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The Science of Tomorrow’s Cars Just Around The Corner

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Our cars and trucks are being transformed through technology in ways that could never have been imagined even a decade ago.  jetsonToday state-of-the-art electronics, safety systems, Hybrid powertrain technologies, and infotainment devices that help keep drivers connected, are providing consumers with innovative technologies that meet our needs in todays world.

“Science and engineering are at the heart of today’s vehicle development and the auto industry is transforming itself to be at the leading-edge by investing billions of dollars each year. The auto industry is among top investors in research and development globally. 

Here are some of the Latest Advancements that are transforming the way we drive:


For many years, auto engineers have been developing new technologies to make vehicles more fuel efficient — testing and refining them — and the results are now coming to market.  This year, 50+ technologies will be on sale that reduce emissions, increase mileage and run on clean fuels.   Consumers can buy 130+ models that achieve 30 MPG or more (highway), including 27 models of hybrids and 8 clean diesel autos.  

Stop-Start Technology: One of the clearest motoring trends to emerge from Europe in the past year is the growth of Stop-Start technology. The technology conserves energy by shutting off the engine whenever the car stops, such as at a traffic light. The decrease in fuel consumption results in savings of up to 12 percent, and lower CO2 emissions.


In-Car Connectivity:  The car of tomorrow that’s just around the corner combines a variety of technologies into one powerful, intuitive connected driver experience.  This new in-vehicle connectivity experience will include intuitive “Hot Spots” for wireless devices demonstrated in a Toyota Avalon recently, internet connection, and dashboard displays that operate much like display touch-screen buttons on an I-phone replacing many of the traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges. With more voice commands, clear, crisp LCD screens that can be customized with intuitive buttons, drivers can choose which information is front and center through a button click, voice command or touch-screen tap.

Google Earth will be available for the first time in a production vehicle in the new Audi A8. The state-of-the-art online services allow the new A8 to retrieve up-to-date information from the internet via an optional integrated GPRS/EDGE modem in the latest generation MMI navigation plus. The user can search online with Google for points-of-interest directly from within the MMI. With Google Earth on the MMI’s 8 inch LCD display the new Audi A8 allows its occupants to discover the world from above through high resolution three-dimensional satellite and aerial imagery for the entire globe. The Google Earth imagery and 3D terrain model are combined with the detailed street network from the onboard navigation database in a seamless integration of online and offline content.

Making Scents of Smells:  Infiniti’s Forest Air system helps reduce the intrusion of unpleasant odors into the cabin and provides a more natural breeze-like airflow.


Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake is a groundbreaking technological solution found on the all-new Volvo S60. It can detect pedestrians who walk into the road in front of the car, warn the driver – and automatically apply full braking power if the driver does not respond in time.  The system can avoid a collision with a pedestrian when driving at speeds of up to 22 mph.  In an emergency situation the driver first receives an audible warning combined with a flashing light in the windscreen’s head-up display. At the same time, the car’s brakes are pre-charged. If the driver does not react to the warning and an accident is imminent, full braking power is automatically applied.  

World First Rear-Seat Center Airbag: Toyota has developed a world first rear-seat centre airbag to help reduce the severity of passenger injuries in side-on collisions. The new Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbag is fitted in a large, fixed, rear-seat centre console and will feature in particular Toyota models to be released in the near future.  When the vehicle is hit side-on, the airbag deploys from the top of the console to act as a barrier that helps lessen injuries caused by passengers colliding with each other or into the console.