Living in the Future: How far Have Cars Come?
The modern automobile is so packed with technology and engineering marvels that Henry T. Ford wouldn't recognize it anymore. Although the Model T had surprisingly good fuel efficiency, it lacked a GPS navigation system, touch screens and advanced safety features of today's cars. Vehicle designers aren't letting all of the innovation go to their head.
Engineers are continuing to create remarkable advancements that have the potential to revolutionize the personal transportation industry. Take a tour of some of the newest developments and learn how the humble family car is going to make a big splash in the not-so-distant-future.
People with limited mobility once relied on friends, family and professional caretakers for a ride when they needed to run errands or go to a doctor's appointment. Advancements in mobility technology now allow people who use wheelchairs to access a vehicle and drive themselves wherever they like. Braun Ability is one of the leading companies in the handicapped-accessible vehicle field. They convert a van from popular auto manufacturers like Toyota, Chrysler or Honda into a handicap van.
Each van has a powered ramp or lift that makes wheelchair access easy. Gone is the back strain from transferring yourself or assisting someone into a vehicle, struggling to get situated and making room for a wheelchair. Handicap vans are custom designed to be spacious enough to fit the equipment necessary to make getting around possible when you reach your destination.
Models that are adapted for being driven by a person in a wheelchair also have the driver's seat removed and special hand controls added. Even the largest electric wheelchairs or scooters can fit into these vans. People who can climb into the car on their own can also have sedans and smaller vehicles adapted to lift and store their wheelchair into the exterior of the car.
From the land to the sea
If you love hugging the curves in a sports car and cruising the bay in a yacht, the Sea Lion prototype is probably a dream come true. The model is one of the first amphibious cars that can seamlessly transition between driving on land and floating on water.
It's one of the most exciting and attractive models among the 25 vehicles currently considered amphibious. It actually looks like a sea creature with a piece on the back that looks and moves similar to the fin of a fish (most likely responsible for maneuvering in the water). The designer managed to improve its speed to the point where it can reach 125 miles per hour on land and 60 miles per hour on water.
You don't have to settle for sticking to the marina if you have the budget for the Rinspeed sQuba. Take a page from James Bond's book and drive underwater in a sleek and muscled sports car. The $1.5 million car actually has an open design that will leave you soaked after each drive, but built-in oxygen masks mean you won't have to hold your breath. The sQuba is a two-seater so you can bring along a friend or a date. Imagine how impressive an underwater ride after dinner would be!
Take to the skies
Flying cars have been one of the icons of the future since the 1940s. The Dutch PAL-V was the first, but an American version called the Transition completed its test run in April 2012. The Transition seats four and may be on the roads and ready for lift-off as soon as next year. Being able to circle the block a few times with a bird's eye view will really help you find the best parking spot.
Vehicle progress has been astonishing during the last 20 years, from simple accessibility to taking flight for a few minutes. Just imagine what kind of features cars will have 20 years in the future.
Grady Winston is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.
This article was written by Grady Winston, on behalf of BraunAbility.com - Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.
Images courtesy of: BraunAbility.com, Lift Design, Finest Tech, 4.bp