5 Predictions for the Future of Automotive Technology
Cars as people know them have reached the end of their life cycle. In the past 100 years or so they’ve come an incredibly long way, but a new trend is just around the corner. It’s no longer going to be an evolution of already existing cars, but rather a complete wave of new and innovative automobiles that resemble the things people call cars. Read on to learn about the future of cars...
The Future of Automobiles
There's no doubt that car technology is rapidly advancing, and it can be hard to keep up. Smart cars, self-driving cars, and improvements in safety and efficiency are either here, or just over the horizon. Though some technologies will take longer to develop than others before you see them in the dealerships, here are five predictions for the future of automotive technology you can expect to see in the next couple of decades.
Autonomous Cars - Of course, autonomous cars are at the top of the list because they’re actually already here. Self-driving cars can function on the road all on their own even today, but the topic is still sensitive and is a gray area. Simply put, the infrastructure and roads for such a feat are not ready, and neither are the people.
For autonomous cars to catch on, people are going to have to start looking at cars as devices, much like the laptop or the mobile phone. A lot of people have an emotional connection to their car, and driving itself symbolizes a form of freedom and individuality. Taking that away from millions of people is not going to happen overnight.
As radars, lasers, and cameras get better, people will start relying on the technology more and more, and that’s a fact. Although it probably won’t happen in the next decade, in twenty to thirty years nearly all of the cars on the road will be capable of fully autonomous driving. Whether people choose to use it though, is a different story - or whether it’ll be legal to drive your own car for that matter.
Smart Cars - Autonomous cars are in fact smart cars, but there’s a whole different technology behind the “smart car” idea. You see, it’s one thing for a car to be able to drive itself, but a completely different to be able to talk to other cars in real time. The technology has had some success in various tests, but for it to completely work, all of the cars on the road will have to be able to communicate to each other.
The idea is that once every car knows where it’s going and can communicate with other cars, things like traffic lights and traffic signs will become obsolete. Cars will be able to pass one another in extremely busy intersections at full speed, simply because they know they’re not going to crash. However, if just one person decides to drive on his own, this entire plan becomes obsolete and useless. It’s a brilliant idea which works in theory, but it will take a lot of effort to be placed in practice.
Augmented Reality Dashboards - Most of us already know what a GPS is and what it does. If Augmented Reality becomes a thing in the near future, the need for separate or built-in GPS units will no longer exist. Remember how in Terminator the robots are able to bring up information right in front of their eyes? Augmented Reality dashboards will work in a very similar fashion.
Rather than looking down at the GPS or even the instrument cluster, all of the information will be brought up on the windshield in real time. Things like navigation, speed, distance from the car in front will all show on an interface. It’ll even be able to inform you of an impending accident by flashing a big red box on the windshield. BMW has already been able to implement this technology in a prototype, and with a bit of fine tuning, AR can find its way into cars in the next few years.
Exterior Airbags - Yes, it does sound silly when you put it like that, but the technology is actually really clever. Airbags inside the car help minimize passenger injuries, but exterior ones could drastically reduce the number of fatal crashes on the road further still.
Mercedes has experimented with this technology by fitting external airbags on the underside of one of their cars. When the systems detect a crash is imminent, the airbags deploy and dramatically slow the car down right before the accident. This is thanks to the friction coating the airbags are lined with. They also raise the car up by several centimeters, thus countering the dipping motion the car experiences under heavy braking. This means that rather than striking the car in front dipped down, you’ll effectively hit it head on (bumper-to-bumper), so the impact is absorbed by both parties equally.
Energy-Storing Panels - The idea is really simple, but implementing it is anything but. Current hybrids and EVs require batteries for the electric motors, which are both heavy and rather inconvenient. They also take up a lot of room, hence why hybrids have so little trunk space. Energy-storing body panels aim to eliminate the need for batteries altogether, and nine auto manufacturers are currently toying with the idea in Europe.
The panels will be made out of polymer fiber and carbon resin, both of which are strong enough for automotive use but also exhibit energy-storing abilities. The energy would naturally be accumulated from regenerative braking or through the traditional plug-in system when a car is left to charge overnight. Since this technology eliminates the need for batteries, it also means the produced electricity doesn’t have to be used to shift those batteries around. Yes, it’s going to be more expensive to begin with, but production costs will come down once it finds its way into more conventional automobiles.
Today's article was provided by Mark Slater. He's a car tech enthusiast who works for Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep, in Olathe KS. You can visit their dealership online. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 1 Feb 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- 5 Predictions for the Future of Automotive Technology (Posted: 1 Feb 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved