auto techRemember when we were all promised flying cars? Whether you’re over 50 or just reaching the driving age now, flying cars have been held out like a carrot on a stick for drivers. The future, we were promised, was going to be automated as well. Not only was that car going to fly, but also it would drive itself. Punch in a destination, sit back and reach your destination trouble-free; avoid traffic, pedestrians and the occasional squirrel with a death

I guess you could say we do have the technology for all of that now. We’ve seen “flying cars” that are basically small airplanes with a chassis made from driving on the roads as well. We also have the knowledge and software for self-driving cars. Tesla, among other manufactures, has been testing its auto pilot program with some great success. Google & Apple have also been hinting that they might be ready with their self-driving software within a couple of years.

What you may not know is that there have been advancements in technology over the past decade or so that have contributed to the rise of the new era of car automation. Rear mounted radar on cars has enabled autos to “sense” any obstacle that might be out of a driver’s sight. It’s also an important contribution to a self- driving car. Night vision with pedestrian identification is offered in some high-end cars to make navigation even safer. Headlight sensors that switch between high and low beams helps eliminate one more distraction for the driver. Programmable limits on car performance, like parental controls, have enabled safer operation. GPS systems, used mainly in navigation and tracking, have allowed satellite assisted software navigate narrow streets and as well as wide-open highways. Cameras both in the cabin and on the body of the car are a great way to help with piloting a tough parking space as well as other maneuvers. Finally, in-car Wi-Fi can be a great tool (or a bit of a distraction) and keeps the car connected to any and all services that may be required.

As we speed along to the next level of technology for cars, let’s hope someone is working on how to get our cars to fly!