I recently read about Citroën’s competition to ‘design’ a special edition car, with the winning design going into production later this year. It got us talking about our ‘fantasy’ car features…
Citroën must be aware of the risks of letting ‘Joe Public’ design a car – if they aren’t, I’d suggest they watch The Simpsons episode where Homer has free reign to put his ‘ideal’ car into production…
In reality, this competition allows users to choose body and trim colour, choice of either alloy wheels and so on – rather like specifying a new car on any maker’s website.
But the idea triggered a discussion among the Which? Car team about what features – fantasy or real – they would like added to their ideal car. Here are a few of our ideas:
Top Gun visor display
Someone suggested a visor display – like the ones fighter pilots use – which would project all the info you needed on to the visor, right in front of your eyes.
Well, you can already ask for a ‘heads-up’ display – maybe the closest car-based equivalent – on a couple of cars I know of. This type of display projects the information directly on to the windscreen, meaning you can keep your head up and your eyes on the road.
Back to the future
Someone else suggested they’d like a ‘flux capacitor’ – the fantasy special component that allowed Doc Brown to take his DeLorean car backwards and forwards through time!
The problem is that even if we could provide one, it would be illegal on UK roads. The Back to the Future car’s flux capacitor required you to drive at 88mph before it ‘activated’ – triggering the time travel. In the UK, it would trigger three points and a ticket before moving you through the space-time continuum!
All aboard the motorway train
Nobody enjoys driving on motorways, so one team-mate said they’d like to see a conveyor-belt system installed (rather like the travelators at airports). It would allow you to drive on, then switch your engine off and relax until you arrived at your junction. You could read a book or even have a nap along the way.
This isn’t too far away from reality. When all cars are equipped with linked-up radar-based cruise control (to maintain safe distances and speeds), we will hopefully see ‘trains’ made up of cars on every motorway. And once we do, I predict it will allow us to get more cars along congested routes at much higher speeds, far more efficiently and safely.
Going backwards to go forwards
Personally, I think that last idea will eventually lead to driverless cars, presenting an opportunity as far as safety goes. It would allow all the car’s occupants to be positioned rearward-facing (the preferred way round for babies). In a front crash, a rear-facing occupant is better protected, since crash-loads are spread across the whole area of the seat back, and head- and neck-movement are far more effectively controlled.
Of course, you’d hope that driverless cars would be less likely to have crashes in the first place, thus making the rear-facing seats redundant.
Let us know what you think of our dream designs and what features (real or fantasy) you’d like to see fitted to the future’s cars. Remember, from the seeds of imagination comes invention!