People like to say that you should look at a Mercedes-Benz S-Class to figure out what sort of things are going to be on mainstream cars within a decade. Stuff like ABS and airbags showed up on the big Merc long before they did on, say, a Golf.
But what you really should do is look at the cars featured in James Bond films. Stuff like front and rear cameras, in-car phones and (to a certain extent) revolving license plates have all been brought to market and in some cases are commonplace on cars you can buy today.
The problem is, not everything from the 50 years of Bond films had made it to production — even though some of it should have.
There are still some unrealized car gadgets that would be useful in everyday situations. Here are some that I've decided manufacturers need to pursue after spending lots of time studying the films, even if they only make sense after a few martinis:
How's the red light camera going to catch you now? Turning your car invisible is not such a bad idea and would be really popular among teens who drive up 2 or 3 hours past curfew. Bond found it useful in Die Another Day in an Aston Martin Vanquish while trying to flee a villain in a Jag XKR.
The invisibility system works by using cameras to project the background on either side of the car, so you see trees instead of the side of your Aston. Shame to hide a beautiful car, but it beats getting busted when your parents see the lights on your Escort GT pulling up the driveway at 3 a.m.
The amphibious car is nothing new, but a submarine is cooler. If you have an Esprit, it can be done. Although as shown in The Spy Who Loved Me, ‘70s car submarining technology still left room for fish to mysteriously enter the car. Many cars are as slippery as an Esprit these days, so that shouldn't pose a problem. But with all of the concern over the state of our bridges in this country, shouldn't we be looking at ways to get cars off of these structures? Shouldn't we make sure people use the submarining feature on their Honda Odyssey instead of trying to lug that two-ton thing full of people and stuff over a dilapidated bridge? Think about it.
Passenger ejector seat
The holy grail of Bond car gadgets. I think it works well in conjunction with today's popular sliding panoramic roofs. Every parent of a teenage texter singing Taylor Swift songs over and over will want this instead of losing his or her mind on the way to or from school drop-off.
Conversely, teens learning to drive with one of their parents in the passenger seat might also find a use for the feature. Wire it to the front passenger seat in the family Ford Edge and out they go through the big hole in the roof. Alternatively, the mob market will enjoy that it can also be wired to the new glass-roofed Lincoln MKZ.
All-wheel drive can be complicated stuff, and for what, getting around on icy surfaces? Get some skis on your car, like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante used in The Living Daylights. Timothy Dalton's Aston also had a rocket system, which depending on how many horses your standard car has could come in handy.
I don't know why this doesn't come standard on every Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon, because heart attacks are no joke. Why was Daniel Craig's DBS fitted with one in Casino Royale? It never hurts to be safe. That car was a mobile CDC, with poison antidotes and stuff like that. We should get all world leaders DBS fitted this way.
What Bond Car gadgets would you want on your car?