We thought we’d have a change from the usual article format and would write an open letter to Car Designers across the globe with a list of things that some of the staff here at AutoAid HQ would like to see in the next generation production cars. Many of us date back to a time when radios weren’t standard equipment and door mirrors were only fitted by default to the drivers side, or when car mats were always a ‘bargaining chip’ at the point of sale…
We thought we’d start inside the car. It’s true that cars are fitted with a whole plethora of technological aids nowadays. It’s unusual for new cars now not to have head units with sat-nav built in. Many cars run internet or DAB radios and some cars have wireless hotspots. The invention of the reverse camera was a great idea, but why not extend this to more affordable ‘daily’ cars and have switchable views of around the car, great for tight gaps if installed in the door mirrors for example, and also for parking close to the kerb. You could expand that idea a bit by remotely recording all your ‘drives’ directly to the ‘cloud’ in case of an accident (or to show off some impressive driving to friends?)
Designers cottoned on to split front/back ‘zones’ in cars when MPVs first started to roll off the production lines. Split sunroofs, split front to back climate control and separate entertainment systems in the back. This was obviously mostly focused on families with kids and the need to eradicate once and for all the ‘are we nearly there yet’ cliched questions. But, could designers go further still with ‘zoning’ the inside of cars?
Switching now to the outside, there is no denying that cars are becoming more and more futuristic looking, though some of us can remember when the ‘jellymould’ Sierra was first launched and thinking how wonderfully advanced it looked (which in fairness, at the time, it did). But with the advancement of aesthetics and materials used (i.e. who had carbon fibre in 1977?) isn’t there more to be done for the most common annoyance of all…car park dings? Some manufacturers have toyed with self repairing paint for minor scratches…but how about a ‘memory metal’ that ‘pops’ little dents out to run true again?
Enginewise. More and more of us are moving over to electric but before electric and hybrid cars were really considered a viable option for the consumer market, some manufacturers thought they’d help simplify the ease and manner of navigating around an engine for basic routine maintenance by ensuring the common, and most used areas were marked in bright colours; oil cap, dipstick, screenwash etc. Some manufacturers also used to put stickers under the bonnet stating when the oil and plugs were last changed, or the cambelt etc. But what if there were an electrical ‘service’ display that gave a reading of all fluid levels, the wear left on tyres, or brake pads etc? A one-stop area to give you a heads up of what needs doing down the line? Of course, the display could be plumbed into the main entertainment screen inside the car and the ECU does already identify some of these areas either through diagnostic equipment or to owners anyway.
We’re sure many of you will also have ideas of what would be nice to see in years to come, and we’ll finish with what we think is our best suggestion…a button that can be tailored to your breakdown roadside rescue company that notifies them of what has occured (including those car diagnostics), where you’ve broken down etc along with the ability to access the cameras to ensure the occupants are safe and to help guide the rescue vehicles? Too much big brother? Or a useful aid for drivers needing assistance?