Top 5 Most Important Upcoming Car Technologies

What's under the cover? See pictures of concept cars.
AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

In the early 1980s television series Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff co-starred with a black Pontiac Trans Am named K.I.T.T. (that's the Knight Industries Two Thousand, if you're old enough to remember). The latter could talk, drive by itself and get its human partner out of a jam using its onboard artificial intelligence. At the time, such capabilities seemed like sheer fantasy -- even laughable. Yet today, these once "futuristic" car capabilities (and many more) are reality -- or close to it, anyway.

In this article, we'll explore five of the biggest upcoming technologies to watch for on the automotive scene, and when you might be able to experience them from behind the steering wheel.

In some cases, the technology is already here and ready to use. With others, you shouldn't expect to see them hit the roads until further research has worked out the flaws -- not to mention the high costs. But if past experience has shown us anything, it's that the race to provide cars that are safer, more efficient, faster and just plain cooler will keep pushing the boundaries of technology in what we drive.