Video: Atomic Age Dreams Realized – New Tech for Old Cars

We're still waiting for this "future."  Or is coming soon?

We’re still waiting for this “future.” Or is coming soon?

J.D. Power just released some interesting data on the state of technology in today’s cars. Okay, easy now, we can hear a bunch of you guys out there squawkin’ about “We don’t need no stinking computers or self driving cars…” Well, maybe so, but 10 years ago we all probably didn’t think our desktop computer would be shrunk down to a smartphone and each of us would be connected to the internet twenty-four-seven, three-sixty-five.

So reconsider what you think you know about technology, autonomous cars and hideous beige Priuses strung together on the highway and check out the some cool stuff that’s a harbinger of things to come. Our friends at The Car Connection brought us the story.

When the Powers people asked folks what technology they wanted in a car, most said they wanted a “device application” link. It wasn’t just the twenty-somethings with the nose rings either.  In fact the biggest increase in age segments was from “Early Boomers,” i.e. people born between 1947 and 1953.

Obviously the most common application would be pairing your smart phone with the car’s infotainment system, but take a look at two rodding applications of smart phones communicating with cars and inevitably, cars communicating with each other.

First off, check out  Ridetech RidePro e3 Smartphone app, an inexpensive kit allowing you to adjust your E3 RidePro system via your Android or Apple device. You can adjust ride height, choose from 3 ride height presets for each vehicle corner and display air tank and air spring pressure all via Bluetooth while ditching a separate controller.

Also, Edelbrock has a cool throttle body E-Street EFI System that’s set up and tuned via Bluetooth with an included 7″ Android tablet. The full featured software is simple for novice users, but is also capable of complete control of all parameters for experienced EFI tuners as well as controlling electric cooling fans and A/C relays.

 Finally, the time is imminent that cars will be communicating with each other.  For people of certain age, post war optimism promised finned, bubble topped sleds rolling down the highway while a perfect “Atomic Age”  family read or played board games…a far cry from the reality of blandtastic golf carts lumbering down the interstate in a herd. 

Wait though,Volvo (of all companies) has come up with a “autonomous convoy,” a way for a bunch of cars to follow a designated “leader” hands free down the highway. The video shows a semi truck with a bunch of cars trailing behind it in perfect unison, like an automotive version of synchronized swimming.

Even with a bunch boring Volvos, it looks cool with the cars inches away from each other, eerily in lockstep. It would be very, VERY cool with a bunch of ’59 Cadillacs or a gaggle of muscle cars or Deuce Coupes, all in a hot rod convoy headed toward the local hang out or car show.

The technology seems far away at this point, but the experts say it will be commonplace in a decade or so. Who knows? An autonomous system for classic cars might be the hottest aftermarket trend of 2023.

This 'Portlandia' wagon train isn't what we were promised in 'The Jetsons' etc. It could be mighty impressive with cool cars though, imagine a bunch of street rods or musclecars in this line.

About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an Editor at Power Automedia. A zealous car geek since birth, he digs lead sleds, curvy fiberglass, kustoms and street rods. He currently owns a '95 Corvette, '76 Cadillac Seville, '99 LS1 Trans Am and big old Ford Van.
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