Google‘s driverless car may be getting all the attention these days, but it isn’t the only concept out there aiming to shape the vehicle of tomorrow. Here are a few articles from the SmartVan archives on what fleets may look like in a few years.

Self-Cleaning Vans: New industrial coatings are being tested that can keep dirty vehicles looking good without ever needing a scrub-down — and they may be able to self-repair little scratches and door dings. According to a report, “an occasional rain shower is all that’s needed to keep the car clean.” Read More.

Tweeting Vans: An Australian fleet management software company, PoolCar, is trying to develop a program that lets your van Tweet out diagnostic information, like its location, speed, and CO2 output, in real-time. No word on whether it’ll Tweet success rates of jobs it drives to. Read More.

Networked Vans: The University of Michigan is going through a yearlong test on 3,000 vehicles equipped with “vehicle-to-vehicle” Wi-Fi connections that transmit their location, speed, and direction. The hope is that these cars can “talk” to one another and avoid crashes. Read More.

Self-Inflating Tires: Aperia Technologies is already making a tool that claims to keep tires running at peak capacity. It has something to do with centrifugal force, we think.  Read More.

In-Cab Cameras: Need proof you didn’t blow through that stop sign? Want to see if your drivers are yakking on the phone while driving? An in-cab camera — already used widely in many taxi cabs and buses — could be the answer. (Alternately, your drivers might revolt.) Read More.

Speech-Recognition: Yes, just like KITT from Knight Rider. Or at least sort of like that. More like Siri, but in your van. Read More.

Telematics Affecting Insurance: Again, this is a trend we’re already seeing: Car-insurance providers offering discounts, or at least tailoring custom premiums, to fleet operators who install telematics equipment that can offer detailed driving behavior reports. Read More.

Goodbye, Petrol: Some of these technologies are already being adopted. Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are already on the road — in fact, AT&T has made a big push. Electric vehicles are also becoming more popular, especially with companies like Via Motors able to swap out a petrol- powered engine with a custom-built electric drivetrain.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.