SENSORS SEE THE LIGHT Simple and intuitive to operate, new driving-assistance systems will eliminate blind spots, enhance night vision and provide advance warning of dangerous situations down the road. Page 46
BRAKING REVOLUTION The electronic wedge brake will be more effective, respond faster and require less space than today’s systems. Page 52
SAFETY FIRST Accident-free driving is possible. An interview with Hans-Georg Metzler, head of the Active Safety Laboratory at DaimlerChrysler. Page 55
MY CAR UNDERSTANDS ME Not only will drivers one day be able to talk to their vehicles, navigation systems will understand everyday speech and respond in kind. Page 56
WE’VE UPGRADED YOUR CAR Standards and modular software are setting the stage for rapid develop- ment of enhanced electronic systems in vehicles that will be robust, inex- pensive and upgradeable. Page 59
2 0 2 0 I t ’ s t h e y e a r 2 0 2 0 . R o b e r t i s d r i v i n g his grandmother home in a car fitted with high-tech support systems, including a night vision display, a lane- change assistant and an emergency braking system. Important information is shown on the head-up display, and all systems are voice-activated. The display on the passenger side can access systems such as a smart home and the Internet.
October 2020. As Robert drives his grandmother home in the new family car, he proudly explains all the high-tech systems on board — ranging from the latest driving assistance technology to multimedia infotainment.
W ill you drive grandma home?” asks Robert’s father after dinner. “You can take her in my car.” Robert beams. It’s been only two months since he passed his driver’s test, and his father has already offered him his new car. “Do you trust me behind the wheel?” he asks his grandma. “Don’t you worry. I’ve survived plenty of rough rides in my time!” replies the 82-year-old woman.
Once in the car, Robert makes himself comfortable behind the wheel. “Please fasten your seat belts,” an authoritative voice says, sounding like the pilot of a jumbo jet. His grandmother looks on in astonishment at the shimmering screen in front of her. “That’s an OLED display,” explains Robert. “It’s just plas- tic. But you can watch a movie on it or surf the net.” He presses a button to activate the
hybrid engine. “Won’t it start?” asks grandma, squinting at the silence. “Sure. It started just fine. But there’s nothing to hear. With this system — some kind of electro-hybrid — the diesel engine only kicks in later. And when I say diesel, I mean GTL diesel — you know, gas-to-liquid. It’s one of those super-clean designer fuels.” Robert switches on the navi- gation system. “Welcome to NavPal,” the cap-
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005