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The Car of the Future - What the Movies Got Right and Wrong

Presenting incredible (and sometimes terrifying) visions of the future is a stalwart of Hollywood’s brightest minds. Within this genre; directors, producers and CGI whizzes have often had to predict where the automotive industry might head in the coming years, decades and centuries.

Here, we take a look at some of the things the movies got right and wrong.

Remote controlled cars: right (kind of)

Who could forget the scene in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, where Pierce Brosnan pulls out his mobile phone and fires up his BMW 750iL as it’s surrounded by gun-toting villains? Diving in through a back window, 007 uses his modified phone to drop a bunch of metal spikes and pull off an array of daring manoeuvres as he makes his escape from a multi-storey carpark. While the remote-control parking aids offered by the likes of the new BMW 7 Series Saloon are impressive, we’re still a long way off having what Bond had at his fingertips.

Self-driving cars: right

As the race for autonomy hots up, the age of the self-driving car is here. Plenty of films have imagined autonomous cars, from 1990’s Total Recall to Demolition Man, which was released in 1993. I, Robot did a pretty good job of imagining what our cars might look like in 2035, but then it was made relatively recently in 2004 and had help from Audi in designing the vehicles featured in the film.

Flying cars: wrong

Although we can firmly say that films like Back to the Future and Blade Runner were wrong in predicting we’d all be zipping through the skies in flying cars by now, who knows what’s in store over the years ahead. Back to the Future II did prophesise that we’d have them by October 21 2015, so there’s probably a fair few disappointed eighties and nineties kids out there. For now, we’ll have to make do with self-driving cars and hope that one day we’ll get to take to the skyway.

Gesture control: right

In 2002 sci-fi thriller Minority Report, Tom Cruise dons a pair of special gloves to manipulate the user interface that helps him solve crimes before they happen. With VW’s new infotainment system, you don’t need the gloves - proximity sensors detect your hand and mean you don’t even need to touch the screen.

Voice controlled driving: wrong

1994 film Timecop was set in 2004, and the writers boldly envisaged that we’d have voice-activated self-driving cars by then. Manufacturers such as BMW have incorporated voice commands into entertainment and navigation systems, but more than a decade on from the year Timecop was set in, we’re no closer to voice controlled driving.