Automobiles have come a long way in the last few years. Perhaps you've surfed through DirectStarTV channels and have noticed some cool stuff on an automobile show, or you've talked to a relative who has some neat features on their new car or truck. Each year, the industry continues to roll out new technology and innovations that make driving safer and more enjoyable. Here are the top 5 auto innovations in the last 5 years.
Although self-driving vehicles aren't ready for a mass-market launch at this point, their development has been a hot topic in the automobile industry for the past several years. It appears that Google is leading the charge for cars that will supposedly help avoid accidents and reduce traffic congestion resulting from human error. In fact, Google's home state California just passed a bill legalizing self-driving cars. We'll keep an eye on this development in the near future.
Car systems that can detect eminent frontal collisions and stop themselves to avoid accidents are becoming increasingly popular in the auto industry. Although anti-collision systems have been around for a while to at least some degree, Subaru's new EyeSight for its upcoming 2013 Legacy and Outback models has been billed as the "most affordable" of this type of innovation. EyeSight reportedly applies brakes when the vehicle is traveling under 19 miles per hour and it detects an object in its path.
How often has an SUV driver backed over a child's bicycle or similar object because they couldn't see it in their rearview mirror? Likewise, how often has a truck driver backed into a low-sitting post or mailbox for the same reason? With backup cameras becoming the standard for many new models, these types of petty accidents should become less of an issue in the future.
Millions of people have adopted smartphones as their on-the-go communication and computing devices. It's not surprising that automakers have begun to include technology that allows for seamless car and smartphone integration. BMW, Ford and Toyota all offer functionality that projects smartphone interfaces onto the car's dashboard.
Widespread adoption of more fuel-friendly models
Although electric and hybrid car concepts have been around for decades, the past few years has solidified fuel-friendly driving as a focus of many models. Even the large automakers have begun to shift emphasis to more fuel-friendly varieties of its vehicles. For example, flex-fuel models are more prevalent.