While technology is a major part of all automobiles, some high-end vehicles have taken it to the extreme. Power steering was invented in the 1920s by Francis W Davis, electric windows were introduced by Daimler in 1948, and airbags became a safety feature in 1951, but what about those luxury add-ons that perhaps aren’t the norm?
From the water-balloon bumpers of the 60s to the reliant three wheels of the 70s, innovation has certainly progressed throughout the decades. Here, we delve into some of the weirdest technological developments found in high-end cars in recent years.
Tesla’s Model X
We’ve all seen the Citroën advert where the transformer car breaks into a dance. Even in the Disney animation Cars, Lightning McQueen dances in one scene. However in reality, when have you seen a car dance? The probability is that the answer is never, unless you’ve been in the presence of Tesla’s Model X. The model, known for its high calibre of safety and performance, can dance along to a holiday rhyme and flash its lights while opening and closing its falcon wing-type doors. This, titled the ‘Celebration Mode’ makes it look like the vehicle is dancing! The hidden feature was introduced by Tesla owner Elon Musk.
In 2014, owners of Mercedes-Benz vehicles no longer had to purchase an air freshener to make their car smell sweet. In fact, the company created a perfume dispenser that could be kept in the glove compartment and be hooked up to the air balance system of the car. It was then up to the driver to set the dispenser to fragrance the vehicle as often as they’d like by turning on the heat or air conditioning unit, allowing the scent to travel through the vent. If this wasn’t enough, the scent was a Mercedes-Benz original which Sabine Engelhardt and her team developed especially for the device.
The German automotive manufacturers have also included the PreSafe Sound feature which pumps a sound of a particular frequency into the cabin of the vehicle just before a collision to help protect the inner ear.
A year before Mercedes introduced their in-car perfume dispenser, Rolls-Royce introduced a gadget to save us from a rainy day. How often have you left your house and been caught short-handed in a down pour without an umbrella? Well, with 2013’s umbrella-in-the-door invention in Rolls-Royce models, this wouldn’t happen again. And, of course, it wasn’t just any umbrella. This fashion accessory was worth almost £1,000 and, when placed in the umbrella holder, would be dry within minutes.
Bentley Continental GT
This model was built on the underpinnings of the Porsche Panamera, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. The high-end Bentley Continental GT’s majestic interior helps to make it stand out from its rivals, following the inspiration taken from the wings of the Bentley badge. However it is the infotainment system that entices drivers to fully appreciate the Bentley experience. This hi-tech device is less ‘weird’ than Tesla’s Model X addition, but it certainly is wonderful.
Of course, there are many other weird and wonderful technologies out there for those who like to travel in luxury. In recent years, technology has helped to enhance the driving experience, from in-lane sensors to dash cams and even all-electric vehicles. With the likes of gesture control allowing you to simply wave your hand to operate your sound system, car technology will never cease to amaze – and that’s before even mentioning the self-driving cars that are on the horizon!