Car Trends and Innovation

How do self-parking cars and car computers work? What is drifting? Read the answers to these and other questions in the Trends & Innovations Channel.


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10 Problems Cars Can Diagnose By Themselves

Modern cars and trucks can keep track of their own health. The problem often comes when they try to communicate their information to the driver. How does your car talk to you?

How an Electronic Sun Visor Works

A sun visor's primary role in any car is pretty straightforward, right? But as far as automotive designers and aftermarket electronics manufacturers are concerned, anything can be improved.

Can you buy a car with Siri built in?

She talks, she jokes, she knows where all the best restaurants are, and she's even handy with a map. Now Siri may be coming to your car.

How Automatic Braking Systems Work

Most auto manufacturers want to make it clear that they're not trying to take driving away from the driver. But research shows that we could use a little help in the braking department.

How Center-mounted Airbags Work

The design is a little odd, but a center-mounted airbag might keep you from smacking skulls with the other front seat passenger during a side-impact collision or rollover.

How MirrorLink Works

From a user's standpoint, MirrorLink is pretty slick. It's the magic that makes your smartphone's computer and the car's computer talk to each other.

How Run-flat Tires Work

Did you know that Goodyear has been making run-flat tires for NASCAR since 1966? Decades later, tire engineers are still perfecting the design for everyday drivers on public roads.

Are modern cars vulnerable to hackers?

Thieves and thugs will always find a way to take something they didn't work for. But just how vulnerable are modern automobiles to a high-tech attack?

10 Hottest New Cars for 2013

Will 2013 be a decent year for the auto industry? Well, if these 10 cars can make it to production, there should be a lot of happy motorists out there.

Could shape memory alloys harness heat energy from cars?

In an age of diminishing fuel resources and increasing gasoline costs, auto manufacturers are doing everything they can to make cars more energy efficient.

5 Future Car Technologies That Truly Have a Chance

It's no secret that technology changes fast -- and the auto industry is no exception. So what's in store for future cars?

Top 5 Most Important Upcoming Car Technologies

No doubt about it -- today's cars are highly advanced pieces of machinery. Believe it or not, even more sophisticated technology is on the way. So what can we expect to see in the upcoming years?

How Car Ergonomics Work

Logging long hours behind the wheel of your auto can take a toll on your psyche and your body. How are engineers working to make your car rides more comfortable?

How are cars becoming more user-friendly?

Fred Flintstone had a car that he had to power with his own feet; by that standard, all of today's cars are pretty easy to use. But cars are becoming even more user-friendly -- so user-friendly, in fact, that they may not even require a user at all.

How do hybrids utilize eco-plastics?

Hybrid manufacturers tend to keep their focus on gas mileage and power, but that's starting to change as eco-plastics debut in some of the market's most popular cars. Where might you find eco-plastic in your hybrid?

Are hybrids manufactured in a green way?

It seems as if hybrid cars are all the rage these days. Everyone wants to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, but are hybrids as green as they look?

Can you assemble your own car?

When most people are ready for a new car, the process typically involves a local car dealer or a few hours of online auto shopping. For others, it's the start of a project that may take years to finish.

What's new in synthetic oil technology?

Synthetic motor oils have evolved rapidly in recent years to improve gas mileage, increase time between oil changes, clean out harmful engine deposits and more.

Is it possible to assemble a car with glue?

Would you be surprised to learn that automakers are using adhesives to bond components on modern vehicles? We're not talking about the glue you'll find on a typical craft table. These are automotive structural adhesives.

How Hypercars Work

Even if you drive a hybrid vehicle, wouldn't it be great if you could get better mileage? How about 100 miles per gallon, or even more?

10 Everyday Car Technologies That Came From Racing

Most race fans dream of slipping behind the wheel of a purebred race car. As it turns out, your own car already has several features that were originally designed for racing. So what are they?

What is the DARPA Urban Challenge?

People are bad drivers. But as the DARPA Urban Challenge proves, sometimes cars are, too. Why does a department of the U.S. government conduct an annual race for fully robotic cars?

What are tiny leaning cars?

If your car were skinny enough, you could follow that guy on the bicycle who is threading his way through parked traffic. What a joy that would be. Is there such a car?

How light will cars be in the future?

The glory days of the over-sized SUV have ended. The lighter the vehicle, the less fuel it needs to get up and go. How light can a car be?

How Driverless Cars Will Work

Sure it'd be nice to have your car ferry you through the morning commute, but that's the stuff of sci-fi dreams, right? You'll be surprised at what driverless technology is already under your hood.