Modern cars are full of electronics so much so that a car is just a computer with a car app on it now. Or rather a computer “with a bunch of metal wrapped around it“, according to James Altucher.
And we will have soon the first self-driving cars, with a whole host of philosophical implications, both positive as well as negative.
One idea in the book “Become an Idea Machine” was to be able to vibrate the frame, so that snow could be shaken of easily instead of having to scrap the car free by hand.
This invention would come especially handy now that the winter is upon us, at least in the Northeast of the US. Here are some more!
#1 – Heatable metal frame
Similar to enabling the metal frame to vibrate to get rid of snow, the frame could be heated up.
It could actually work better than simply shaking the car, because it would get rid of hardened ice that gets stuck on the car.
We already have that technology in-car windows, so I imagine implementing it within the metal would not be too difficult.
#2 – A electrical theft protection that stuns would-be thieves.
Imagine you forgot your nicest purse or the brand new laptop computer you just bought in your car.
Of course, that is the moment somebody decides to smash the window in and steal your items. It always happens in those situations, right?
Most cars have alarms, but most people just ignore the noise and let the thiefs carry on thieving.
Now – how about the car alarm would send an electric shock out? Maybe even strong enough to stun the person trying to break in, so he falls asleep right there in front of your car, ready to be picked up by the police.
If every car had this kind of alarm, thefts would probably be drastically reduced. Nobody wants to risk getting zapped!
#3 – Head-Up display.
Whenever I drive, I have to glance down at my instruments to see how fast I am going and whether there is still enough gas in the tank.
A distraction that could potentially lead to accidents.
An elegant solution to that dilemma is to have a HUD or Head-Up display on the windshield – the same system that military pilots have.
Imagine that – not only can you comfortably read your speed, oil and gas, no – the only thing missing to turn your car into a high-tech fighter jet is simply the ability to take off (we will probably have flying cars around some time in the nearer future).
Beyond the technical gadgetry, a Head-Up display makes your driving a lot safer.
#4 – Uplink to Google Glass or iPhone for easier navigation.
This could be a very practical way to get to your destination.
Imagine you see a restaurant and you’d like to come back. If you have GPS, you’d type in the address and the navigation system brings you there.
Maybe there could be an easier solution. Imagine you take a photo of that restaurant with either your smart phone or Google glass.
Then, the car links up to your iGlass or phone, compares your photo with its own database, identifies the restaurant and directs you there.
Without you having to type.
Or maybe you spent some vacation time on the beach and you really loved it. After you are back home, all you have though is a photo.
The car could check its own database of places in the surrounding area and direct you to a place that is similar to your holiday beach.
Even though you are in Connecticut and the original beach was in Spain.
Wouldn’t that save a lot of time trying to find the directions to a spot that you are not even sure is a good place to relax?
#5 – Ejection seat.
Are you ready to imagine the fighter plane again?
If his plane crashes, the pilot escapes certain death through the ejection seat.
But what do you do if your car veers off the road towards a tree or oncoming traffic?
You could eject as well. Of course, ejecting from the ground up would not give you enough distance to be able to use a parachute.
So instead, your car seats could have jetpacks that keep you in the air and let you slowly and safely down onto the ground.
#6 – Self-sealing wheels.
Bursting tires are a hassle. You have to elevate the car, take off the old tire and put on a replacement tire, then get a “real” one from the workshop.
How about having self-sealing tires instead?
A sensor would detect the flat tire.
Then, a computer would balance the weight of the car onto the three other wheels – so that the car stays stable even at high-speeds.
During 20 seconds or so the damaged wheel gets automatically sealed.
After that, you could drive the car smoothly into the next repair shop. Hassle-free and safe.
#7 – A fog radar/sonar
Fog is a common source for accidents.
It is important to note that people do drive more carefully when there is fog everywhere.
The biggest problem is sudden banks of fog on the road that people just careen into.
Imagine a car in front of you vanishing in the fog, and, unbeknownst to you, slows down. You have little chance avoiding a crash.
That’s how many traffic accidents in fog happen.
However, if your car had a radar or sonar, it could automatically detect the car in front of you and reduce your speed – or make your car stop altogether.
#8 – Ice-proof tires
If you have ever walked outside the snow during winter, you know how treacherous small pockets of black ice can be.
It doesn’t matter how careful you are, your shoes all of a sudden lose grip and you slip.
Let’s hope when that happens, you can still come up with a rhyme!
The same dangers hold true for cars. Pockets of ice the car all of a sudden runs into, loses track and veers off the road.
Smart materials though can change their properties when you apply an electromagnetic field.
So the idea is when a sensor recognizes that the tires are slipping, an electrical current could change the shape or density of the tires to restore their grip.
So the cars would never veer off the road, or could relatively easily catch any drift, correct and bring the car back on track.
#9 – A damage absorbing finish.
Some of the most annoying problems with cars are small scratches.
Should you get your car fixed or is it not worth the effort? Those small blemishes can be pricey to correct.
And as long as we use the car every day, we often can’t afford the time.
But it still annoys us, especially when someone keys our car.
What though if you had color pigments that could be magnetized, or adjusted by sending a small current of electricity through?
You simply apply an electromagnetic field and then realign the pigments. Maybe even integrate additional pigments into the finish.
Scratches would disappear, plain and simple. 10 minutes. No hassle! From the ease of your home.
#10 – Car Hotel.
One of the most attractive qualities about first class seats in planes is that they complete flatten out, allowing for some sweet, undisturbed sleep.
Cars are not known as replacements for comfortable beds.
Although if you drive behind some slower cars, you wonder whether they don’t have beds instead of seats inside.
That being said, if you are traveling with your car for a longer while, either for vacation or a conference, wouldn’t it be great if you never had to worry again about finding a hotel?
Why not make the dashboard retractable and your car seats unfold into a full-fledged bed?
Maybe you could even have a way to take an ultrasound shower or something like that, if no facilities are close by.