06/09/2014 06:59 EDT

The Long View: Tech Innovations That Will Change How We View Cars

Stefan Schulze via Getty Images
Is a car a car if it can think and drive itself? How different is your commute if your bus texts you when it's nearby? All of these situations will be a reality sooner than you think. Read on to find out what else is in store.

Cars, like the humans who have made them, are always evolving. Not only in scope and shape, cars are changing to adapt the changing landscape of modern times. These changes may happen to fit to our newly specified transiting needs, varying as they may be, or the needs of the planet to live a happy and climate conscious existence. We can always count on the technology that goes along with them to be fairly amazing and reconfigure the way we interact with our personal and public transit vehicles.

Here are a few ways in which the technology of cars is enlightening our journeys and our minds.

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1. Autonomy

Cars that can move on their own are kind of cool, if not a bit mind-blowing in their sci-fi implications. While the robots may come to get us at one point, this technology for cars seems to still be on the level and be there to help us, not become totally autonomous and overtake us. (Think Arnold from Terminator 2.)

The manufacturer of electronics in the dashboard of your car probably isn’t from the same company as the car itself. Manufactures of autonomous technology incorporate electronic awareness into their cars. Meaning there are sensors at each corner of it, giving the car a 360-degree radar like function that can detect other buildings, pedestrians, and cars.

2. Ultra powerful hybrids

The hybrid itself is a cool idea that we’ve become accustomed to for over a decade. If it’s good enough for celebrities, it’s good enough for us. But newer ultra powerful hybrid cars seek to store energy while driving.

It’s a technology already available in some cars, but the idea of acceleration converting some of that energy into something that can help conserve fuel, saving you dollars at the gas tank.

3. Pedestrian safety

Learning to develop a second sense for what could possibly happen in a car is something drivers have become well accustomed to. That’s why the latest technology doesn’t aim to replace your hard-earned reflexes and instincts, but to help you increase your awareness. Pedestrian awareness technology helps the moving vehicle apply the breaks if a driver cannot, to prevent any accident from occurring because of a pedestrian. Think of it as a combination of a wingman and a guardian angel; it has your back just in case the absolute worse happens.

4. Navigating transit and highways

Getting stuck behind a bus is one of the most irritating things as a driver. If your commute begins and ends with some kind of downtown traffic, it can be brutal; and that’s what adds the extra commuting headache. With apps that have live updates regarding bus or streetcars and their routes, delays, or any other pertinent information, your commute home becomes a much smoother ride.

City dwellers aren’t the only ones benefiting from this: it will calculate highway delays, accidents, re-routes and more.