In a time of constant connectivity, lower emissions and higher driver expectations, car companies are pushing the boundaries of vehicle concepts that are no longer just shiny static toys to look at. Future cars, they call them.
Some makers are taking huge steps in developing technology that’s shaping the way humans utilise future cars. Today we’re taking a look at five of those marques. In true D’Marge style, they’re also the ones we think would be pretty damn exciting to drive (or not, see: Mercedes).
#1 Audi Future Cars
Audi, along with its other front-running German counterparts are not new to innovation. The company that introduced all-wheel-drive to the world of rallying back in the 1980s is just as focused on driver involvement these days, albeit with the assistance of 21st century technology for future cars.
One of their latest innovations is a race with BMW to create ‘Laser Beam Headlights’. It’s a fancy name for smart headlights which basically have a brain of their own. They automatically adjust brightness, sharpness and beam direction according to the road conditions and are capable of projecting out to six football fields in range. That’s one way to blind a kangaroo. The technology is currently being tested on Audi race cars in the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race.
One of the most unlikely partnerships you’ll witness in motoring history is that of the German-Japanese marriage between BMW and Toyota. Their goal is simple: create really fast sports cars with their shared technical diligence at a fraction of the production cost. The result will be Toyota’s resurrected cult hero known as the Supra (codenamed: FT-1, pictured) and a new Z4 from BMW.
Early reports suggest that both sportscars will share the same engines and plug-in hybrid technology. Toyota will handle all the electronics and body construction while BMW develops engines and manufactures the Toyota-designed electric motors.
#3 Tata-Jaguar Land Rover
Never heard of Tata? You will soon. Known as the Toyota of India, Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover in 2008 from Ford and have since been exploiting the British company’s hybrid technology for their smaller mass-produced vehicles. The ambitious plans don’t stop there though.
Jaguar Land Rover have just invested into a $220M R&D centre in the UK to further develop their road car technology. Technology you will no doubt see on a Tata city car one day. If their latest shelved project, the radical C-X75 electric hypercar and latest 007 villain car (pictured), is anything to go by then exciting times are surely coming from this unassuming company.
#4 Mercedes-Benz Future Cars
Credited as the father of the internal combustion automobile, Mercedes-Benz created the first ever petrol engined car in 1886. It should be no suprise then that the German outfit is once again changing the game with the self-driving F 015 ‘Luxury in Motion’. It’s an unorthodox looking vehicle that recently debuted at the Detroit Motor Show. The silver gleaming soapbar looking car is a serious marker for the future, with its intuitive A.I that automates every process and talks to the driver, occupants and even people around it.
You can summon the car to come to you via a smart phone app, doors open and close automatically upon arrival and departure and at a stop intersection, can urge nearby pedestrians to “please, go ahead”. We’re not sure if it will blend though.
#5 Tesla Future Cars
One of the most ambitious and spirited new car companies in the world has to be Tesla. The brainchild of Elon Musk is not to be discounted amongst its more heritage listed peers. The American company born out of Silicon Valley has already proven not just the sustainability of their electric cars, but their ability to destroy its more exotic opponents in an all out drag race.
With a host of new support networks penned for the international market including ‘Super Chargers’ for their vehicles on major road networks, auto-pilot and downloadable car upgrades, the full electric sportscar segment is about to be revolutionised. Zero emissions, insane performance, seamless connectivity. The future is certainly looking bright.