Much like cell phones are now capable of doing more than making calls, cars can do much more than drive and park. In recent years, the automotive industry has worked hand-in-hand with major technology companies in order to deliver the most advanced, safest and most comfortable vehicles out there. Cars are becoming large smart devices with advanced emergency braking capabilities, mapping technology for autonomous driving, better fuel efficiency and cars as a service as a form of transportation.
There are no shortages of ways in which cars are improving the lives of drivers and other vehicles around them in terms of safety, getting from point A to point B with less of a hassle and entertaining us throughout the process. In the coming years, the automotive industry is expected to progress even further, taking us one step closer to more connected and digitized environment. The app Blinker is one such technological advancement that is giving control back to consumers, allowing them to buy, sell and finance cars all on their smartphone.
Here are four of the most groundbreaking technologies you can look forward to in the automotive industry in the near future.
1) More Fuel-Efficient Rides
Tesla is at the forefront of the fuel-efficiency movement, releasing a slew of electric and hybrid vehicles that can take you for hundreds of miles with a single charge. In 2016, more than 2 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide and this figure is expected to rise in the near future as more automotive manufacturers implement electric vehicle technology to their fold. Companies such as VW and General Motors have recently unveiled electric cars to their fleet, while Volvo said that all of the engines they produce will be equipped with an electric motor by 2019.
Electric vehicles are also becoming more affordable, with companies such as Hyundai, Kia and Toyota unveiling hybrid cars under the $30,000 mark, suggesting that investing in fuel efficiency may soon be widely adopted around the globe. In the U.S., 20% to 25% of all vehicle sales are expected to be electric by 2030, while this figure is expected to reach up to 35% in China.
2) Predictive Vehicle Technology
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have an important role in the future of the automotive industry as predictive capabilities are becoming more prevalent in cars, personalizing the driving experience. More manufacturers are applying algorithms that use data to automate the process of setting up a vehicle, including a car’s infotainment system and its application preferences. Vehicles are becoming IoT devices which can connect to smartphones and take voice commands, changing the user interface.
Predictive vehicle technology can also be used in the form of sensors within a car that informs the owner whether or not the vehicle needs service from a mechanic. Depending on your car’s mileage and condition, the technology will be able to estimate its performance, set up appointments in real time and inform users of any safety hazards linked with a malfunctioning car due to company recalls.
3) Self-Driving Technology
Much has been made of autonomous driving technology, and while some companies have been testing their self-driving functionalities on open roads, we’re still quite a ways away from widely adopting these cars. A number of cars already have semi-autonomous capabilities in the form of driver-assisted technologies. These include automatic-braking sensors, motorway lane sensors, mapping technology that monitors blind spots, cameras in the back and front of a car, adaptive cruise control and self-parking capabilities.
Google recently revealed the self-driving pod Waymo, while Local Motors released a fully-autonomous vehicle as well. Ford hopes to have a self-driving vehicle on the roads by 2021.
4) Cars-as-a-Service (CaaS)
Cars-as-a-service (CaaS) refers to an upcoming car rental service that allows city drivers to engage in a ride-sharing service. Smart device owners can hail a car with driverless technology through an app, which picks them up for their transportation or delivery needs. The great thing about the technology is that no driver’s license is needed to access one of these vehicles, serving as a driverless Uber.
IHS Automotive predicts that driverless CaaS are on the horizon, expected to roll out before 2025. Such a technology could help to reduce mobility services costs, while also offering a safer alternative to a human driver.