The next tech frontier: your butt, not your wrist?

There was the PC revolution, than the Internet and now mobile. Tech analysts are falling all over themselves to predict the next great thing, with wearable devices like the smartwatch being the primary candidate.

Maybe the next frontier is not on your wrist but on your butt instead, by which I mean cars.

There’s some impressive tech on the horizon coming soon to cars. There is of course driverless cars, and that’s been covered here before. There’s a ton of cool stuff brewing between now and that future.

The first is this new take on navigation by Jaguar. Forget the traditional map and blue lines. Imagine a blue hologram car that’s just ahead of you, guiding where to go. It’s the future take of how we used to do guidance — by following a buddy.

Jaguar Ghost Car Navigation

This is done by a heads-up-display technology to project the “ghost car” ahead. According to Jaguar:

Driving on city streets can be a stressful experience, but imagine being able to drive across town without having to look at road signs, or be distracted trying to locate a parking space as you drive by. We want to present all of this information on a Heads-Up Display in the driver’s eye-line, so the driver doesn’t have to seek it out for themselves and take their eyes off the road ahead.

Pretty freaking cool!

Here’s another reinvention of something we’ve taken for granted: the rear view mirror. How annoying is it when that mirror is blocked by a tall passenger in the back? Or when the sun is shining into it?

What if the rear view mirror isn’t a mirror at all, but a wide angle camera in the back showing you what’s behind there?

That’s what’s Cadillac is planning to do with the 2016 version of the CT6.

Cadillac has apparently worked hard to make sure that the screen won’t be difficult to see in less-than-stellar conditions. In a press release, the company says that it’s using a “high dynamic range” camera that produces a “video feed [that] reduces glare and allows a crisper image in low-light situations, versus a traditional glass electrochromatic, or auto-dimming, rearview mirror.” The exterior camera also has a hydrophobic coating that should help keep it clear even in rainy conditions.

And if for some reason the 1280 x 240 LCD screen is giving you problems, you can switch back to a traditional mirror at the press of a button.

There is of course Android M, the successor to Android Auto, Google’s operating system for the car. Unlike Android Auto, Android M would not require a smartphone to work and would be built directly into cars.

According to Reuters:

Direct integration into cars ensures that drivers will use Google’s services every time they turn on the ignition, without having to plug in the phone. It could allow Google to make more use of a car’s camera, sensors, fuel gauge, and Internet connections that come with some newer car models.

Google’s software could potentially connect to other car components, allowing, for example, a built-in navigation system like Google Maps to detect when fuel is low and provide directions to the nearest gas stations.

Speculation is that Android M can make an appearance as early as next year.

Of course, the pace of innovation isn’t likely to be as quick for cars as it has been for computers and smartphones. The primary reason is because purchase cycles are far longer — 5, 7 more than 10 years — not to mention larger in size. It could take decades for technology in cars to mature.

Nevertheless, I can’t wait for that future to arrive.

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