The 21st Century Automobile
Sensors will light up an icon on the instrument panel or sound a warning drone when drivers are veering out of their lane or are heading toward a possible accident.
Even though fuel economy is hot, the horsepower war rages on. Americans still love to punch the gas pedal, and many newer cars are both responsive and efficient.
Germophobes will love new plasma-based technologies that release charged ions to filter out mold and bacteria. The result: Cleaner air inside than out.
Carmakers like GM and BMW offer systems than can run self-diagnostic tests on cars, telling owners when the brakes, engine, or air bags need to be fixed.
Soon you'll be able to plug in your iPod or a memory card loaded with your favorite tunes and toggle from track to track using controls located right on the steering wheel.
Hybrid-electric vehicles, transmissions with up to eight gears, and high-tech gasoline engines are slowly but surely delivering the fuel economy gains that were promised back in the '70s.
Navigation systems will tell you more than how to get there—soon they'll tell you how not to get there. They will know where the traffic jams and accidents are, and they'll eventually be able to tell you to slow down when coming up on a hairpin turn.