Future of Technology in the Automotive Industry

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You only have to look as far as your cell phone to see how quickly technology changes. The same phone that was on the cutting edge of technology last year is now dated.

Newer and better models have stepped up to take their place. And the same thing happens with the technology in your car. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to upgrade your vehicle annually, but it’s something to consider if you’ve been driving the same car for a decade. You might be pleasantly surprised at the technological changes we’ve seen – and those that are in the pipeline.

Automotive Industry

From a safety point of view to all the entertainment features and everything in-between, modern automakers are finding new ways to innovate our driving experience; and to some of them here are some exceptional technologies you can expect to see at the auto dealership before too long.

Increased Fuel Efficiency

When the purse strings get tight, money spent at the pump is one of the first things people complain about. We’ve been a slave to fluctuating gas prices with little end n sight. But all indications tell us that cars of the future will become more fuel-efficient or rely on alternative forms of power.

Tesla is a brand that seems to have pioneered the charge with its fleet of hybrid and electric cars that run hundreds of miles on a charge without sacrificing fun.

Actually, we’ve seen this fuel-efficient trend growing since the late 90s when Toyota shook the market with its hybrid Prius. By 2016, the market really expanded with more than 2 million electric vehicles sold worldwide. Today, more auto manufacturers are getting on board with electric and hybrid vehicles, including Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Kia.

We’ve made great strides, but the best is yet to come. By 2030, twenty to twenty-five percent of all vehicle sales are projected to be electric. J.P. Morgan estimates that the HEV (hybrid) market will swell from 3 percent of the global market share to 23 percent within the same period.

Artificial Intelligence

We’ve seen it in this year’s hottest holiday toys, and we’re about to see it come to life in our cars. What are we talking about? Artificial intelligence (predictive vehicle technology). This is the first time in history that we’re actually close to a car like Kitt from Knight Rider hitting the production line, and it’s pretty cool.

The cars of the future will be able to predict your needs based on your history. Future cars may be equipped with sensors to detect and inform the driver about any service the car may need. To take it a step further, some cars may even have the technology to set up real-time appointments. And we already see cars that integrate Alexa technology to provide a more seamless driving experience.

Technologies like these can help bridge the gap between the complexity of a car’s mechanics and the typical car owner’s knowledge.

Self-Driving Technology

We’ve been hearing the term “self-driving technology” for a few years now, but fully autonomous cars are just now making baby steps towards production. These cars of the future are exactly as you might expect. Just like in your favorite sci-fi film, you can hop behind the wheel of a fully autonomous vehicle and have it drive you to your destination. Many cars of today already have semi-autonomous capabilities with driver-assisted technology. You’ll see it in a car’s automatic-braking sensors, lane departure warnings and takeovers, self-parking features, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and more. Love it or hate it, in the coming years, we can expect that cars will become fully autonomous.

Interestingly enough, the technology isn’t allowed in all U.S. states yet, so we’ll likely see some pushback when these cars start flooding the streets.

Along with fully automated driving comes the fully-automated Cars-as-a-Service (CaaS) industry. Think driverless Ubers. According to IHS Automotive, we may be hailing these driverless cars (through an app, of course) by the year 2025.

Vehicle to Vehicle Communication

So many car accidents are caused by driver error. So imagine what would happen if the cars communicated with each other instead of relying on the human driver to see and react to changing conditions. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, is a technology whereby two vehicles send signals to each other to stop potential crashes.

Let’s say you ran a red light and another driver didn’t see your car. His car sends a signal to your car, and they both automatically apply their brakes to avoid the accident. This technology works through wireless signals that are sent from vehicle to vehicle. Such signals carry information about the vehicle’s speed, location, and direction.

Another take on this technology is V2I or Vehicle-to-Infrastructure technology. With V2I, vehicles would communicate with things like road signs and traffic signals. It may also communicate with a traffic management system to help you find the best route to avoid traffic.

Some people are a bit uneasy about technologies like V2C, V2I, and autonomous driving, but they do have the potential to save lives while making our lives a bit easier in the process.

Augmented Reality Dashboards

You may have already seen displays that light up on the windshield but augmented reality dashboards take this technology to a whole new level. Instead of simply displaying your fuel level and speed, augmented reality dashboards will identify objects on the road and display information about them. Such information may include the distance from the object and the best route to maneuver away from it.

BMW is already using augmented reality in their service industry as auto technicians use AR glasses to evaluate engines they are servicing.

As we talk about the future of technology in the automotive industry, it brings to light how far we’ve come already. Many of these technologies seem like they must be decades away from where we stand today, but they’re a lot closer than you may think.

Whether it’s for safety, convenience or cool-factor, the cars of the future will be vastly improved from the cars we’re currently driving.

And it’s exciting to watch these changes unfold.

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