Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by LANDON. LANDON Wonders, “how do cars fly in the future” Thanks for WONDERing with us, LANDON!

Do you ever dream of getting your driver’s license? That day may be years away, but many children can’t wait! They look forward to grabbing the keys, sliding behind the wheel, and hitting the open road. For many, there’s nothing like the freedom that comes with being able to drive yourself anywhere you want to go.

If you’ve thought much about what it’ll be like to drive someday, you might have also thought about what you’ll be driving. Your first car might be five, ten, or more years in the future. What will cars be like then?

If you ask just about any adult you know, you’ll probably learn that most of them heard we’d have flying cars by now. After all, cartoons seemed to promise that one day in the not-so-distant future, we’d all be pilots instead of drivers.

What happened to the promise of flying cars? Glenn Curtiss (sometimes called the father of the flying car) once attempted to invent a flying car with his aluminum Autoplane. However, it never really flew. Still, many people have tried to get the flying car off the ground since then.

Unfortunately, flying cars have just never taken off. Will you see them in your day? Would you want to fly a car, or maybe a hovercraft? Maybe not. Maybe you’d rather have all four wheels firmly planted on the ground.

There may or may not be flying cars in the future. But there are other technological advances you very well may see someday. Many of these technologies are already starting to make their way into current cars. Others may be just ahead on the horizon.

To improve the safety of future vehicles, “pre-safe systems” are being designed to keep occupants safer in the event of wrecks. Advanced sensors will be able to determine when a collision is about to occur and trigger safety features. These systems can slow the engine and prime the brakes. They can also tighten the seatbelts and ready the airbags for deployment. All this happens before a driver even has time to react or slam on the brakes!

If your family travels on highways a lot, you may have noticed the driver using cruise control. This keeps the vehicle traveling at a steady speed automatically. You do have to keep an eye out for slower traffic ahead, though. One day that might not be a worry. With adaptive cruise control, radar sensors in the front of the car will detect slower traffic and slow your vehicle to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

When you do get around to learning to drive, one of the things you’ll learn is how to parallel park. This not-so-simple task is often the bane of driver’s education. In the future, though, you might not need to worry about it.

Some modern vehicles already have self-parking systems. The driver simply finds an appropriate spot, positions their vehicle next to it, and then uses a touchscreen navigation system to tell the vehicle where they want to park. Then, they take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals and let the vehicle’s advanced sensors and computer system do the parking!

All of these technological advancements are great. Still, many drivers will tell you that they don’t necessarily protect them from the thing they worry most about: the other drivers. When you learn to drive, you’ll soon figure out that you must constantly be on the lookout for the mistakes other drivers often make that can affect your safety.

But what if your vehicle itself could communicate with other vehicles? That’s the thought behind a new technology known as V2V—vehicle-to-vehicle communication. V2V vehicles use wireless signals to communicate with each other about such important factors as location, speed, and direction.

For example, suppose you were approaching an intersection, but you didn’t realize a car coming from your right or left was about to run a red light and cross into your path. V2V would allow that car to communicate this fact to your car, and your car’s advanced safety systems could alert you or even brake for you, thereby avoiding the accident!

Isn’t technology amazing? When it comes to transportation, people are always coming up with helpful new inventions. What improvements would you make to the cars of the future?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, NCAS.A.1, NCAS.A.2, NCAS.A.3

Wonder What's Next?

You certainly won’t be BOARD after tomorrow's Wonder of the Day!