One carmaker even developed a self-cleaning model.
The automotive industry has come a long way since the early days of the horseless carriage.
Thanks to the speed of innovation and the spirit of competition, organizations in the business of creating motor vehicles have outpaced even humanity’s expectations.
In popular culture, flying cars were imagined by The Jetsons, Blade Runner, and Back to the Future. But even they could not foresee what today’s companies have dreamed up.
Here is a peek into automobiles, currently in production or on the market, whose special qualities just might convince everyone that the future is already here.
Change of Color
The BMW Group introduced the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink during the Consumer Electronics Show 2022. It is touted as “the first car in the world whose exterior color can be changed at the touch of a button.”
The “magical exterior color change” feature is based on a technology that utilizes digitization to adapt the outside of a vehicle to different situations and individual wishes, able to vary its shade at the driver’s prompting.
A specially developed body wrap is tailored to fit the all-electric sports activity vehicle. Its electrophoretic technology, when stimulated by electrical signals, brings different color pigments to the surface and causes the skin to exhibit the desired appearance.
My Own Private Cinema
The luxury German car brand also pulled the curtain on its new BMW Theatre Screen, designed to bring cinematic experience into the vehicle. A 31.3-inch ultra-wide display with resolution up to 8K offers built-in Amazon Fire TV and 5G connectivity, effectively turning a car into a cinema lounge on wheels.
This rear-seat feature also features a privacy screen, ensuring that the driver and surrounding cars do not get distracted by the display.
A Flying Start
It doesn’t get any more classic than a flying car. Although there have been many initiatives to develop a roadable aircraft in the 21st century, one project caught international attention for completing its first inter-city flight.
A dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle known as AirCar is a step closer to production after completing a 35-minute flight between airports in June 2021. Upon landing, the triggering of a button transformed the machine into a sports car in under three minutes.
Drive My Car
Leading tech companies like Tesla and Apple are racing to produce a fully autonomous, self-driving car that can safely and ethically operate on the road.
Autonomous driving technology company Waymo, which began as the Google self-driving car project in 2009, stands out with its “Waymo Driver” applied across different vehicles (minivans, SUVs, trucks, etc.) to serve different purposes (ride-hailing, local delivery, etc.).
The Waymo Driver technology uses highly detailed custom maps matched with real-time sensor data to determine exact road location—all while tracking every intersection, sign, and signal.
Its perception system takes complex data gathered from its suite of sensors and deciphers surroundings through machine learning. Additionally, it relies on Lidar, or Light Detection and Ranging, to paint a 3D picture of the surrounding environment.
Car Wash, Yeah!
Nissan has developed the first “self-cleaning” car prototype that applies a technology called Ultra-Ever Dry. Through specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, the model is able to repel water, oil, and dirt.
Photo by BMW Group