How Knight Rider Predicted the Future of Motoring
When I think of futuristic talking cars with voice activated navigation, tracking and self drive abilities I can’t help picturing the Knight Industries Two Thousand or KITT for short. KITT was about as smart a car as I could imagine growing up on the 80’s and if Smoky and the Bandit hadn’t already secured the Pontiac Trans-am as an iconic model then KITT with its futuristic features certainly cemented the image in my temporal lobe.
What more could a small boy want than to grow up and own a car that has self driving, auto collision avoidance x-ray and infra red vision not to mention homing device medical scanners and to top it off was virtually indestructible?
In the 1980’s this may have been a tall order but just three decades on and what was once science fiction is turning into science fact.
Auto collision avoidance and self drive
Auto collision avoidance and self drive has been implemented in many new cars in Europe and The European Commission has gone so far as to say that by 2015, all new commercial vehicles should be fitted with devices that they hope will dramatically decrease the number of road fatalities. All the major players in the motor industry such as Ford, Toyota, GM as well as many others are investing huge sums in this technology. These advancements allow cars to recognize dangers, slower moving vehicles or obstacles in the road, automatically decelerate before the brake is pressed and even brake when the driver fails to reduce speed.
X-Ray and Infrared Vision
X-ray vision isn’t available on cars yet but that’s not the case for infrared sight as some manufactures like Mercedes Benz have fitted a few of their higher end motors with night vision that uses infra red to light up the road ahead. There are also a number of dash cams and car DVR systems, which make use of infra red technology to see at night and they can be exceptionally useful in resolving traffic disputes and fender benders. It typically uses Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) night vision cameras that can image through the windshield and thus be mounted in the driver’s compartment for a “driver’s eye” view of the way ahead.
Infrared has been available on many military vehicles for a long time and has become a critical component of modern warfare for obvious reasons as it allows vehicles to operate in total darkness without drawing undue attention. While we wouldn’t recommend driving at night without lights on the ability for your car to see at night certainly has its advantages, hence this technology is slowly becoming more popular on commercial vehicles. It probably, won’t be long until all cars come built in with this ability.
Homing and Tracking Device
Homing devices are not available just yet but they are coming soon. In the TV series, if Michael was in trouble he could call on KITT to come and save him. In today’s world Google is developing a future for driver-less cars where they can be summoned via your Smartphone. While the cars will be limited to just 25mph it may not have the speed to mount a rescue but that’s still fairly cool. Car trackers on the other hand have been around for a long time and each generation are getting more sophisticated.
The KITT car from the 80’s was able to monitor a person’s key vital signs and could even detect if they were injured, poisoned or pick up on emotional indicators. Ford has its own version of this with a seat that can monitor ECG and heart rate by utilizing six embedded sensors to pick up vital signs, this could be used to detect if the if a driver was having a heart attack or even if they have fallen asleep and use other things like the auto braking to bring the car to a safe standstill, it could even send for medical attention if needed by using a cars communication systems.
GPS and In Car Systems
One thing we all remember from KITT is the distinctive voice that belonged to William Daniels. If you feel nostalgic for the good old days then you can easily buy and download this voice for a range of GPS navigation systems, in fact there’s a wealth of voices to choose from so you can get directions from your favorite TV or movie character such as Yoda. “Left, you should turn”
Alternatively you could use a combined DVD in car entertainment system with GPS features and most of these will let you sync your phone up via Bluetooth to provide hands free communications while you’re out and about. If you want something a little flashier then why not take a look at heads up displays like the iHUD, which can display either your cars telemetry or even your phone data directly onto your windshield making you feel like a top gun ace. All these products and a wealth of other in car gadgets are available from Chinavasion at wholesale prices and with express shipping you needn’t wait to take your driving experience to the next level.
Sadly the creator of Night Rider, Glen Larson died at age 77 last week and therefore didn’t get to see all his visions of the future come to pass, but thanks to his visions of the future a whole generation of car enthusiast were inspired to create a better brighter future for us all and I think that’s something he probably took great pride and joy from knowing. Not only did he shape the TV of my childhood, which without him would have would have been very different, he also shaped the future of driving. You can read more here.
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