TMCnet Feature
September 16, 2020

Cool Car Tech Coming This Decade

The way we make our cars and the technology we put inside of them is changing at a pace the automotive industry hasn’t experienced since the car was first invented. After 40 or so years of relative consistency in vehicle design and manufacturing, drivers have found themselves in a world where Google (News - Alert) has automated cars already safely sharing their roads and BMW has “augmented reality” dashboards!

Industry experts anticipate that the cars of the next decade will be very different than the ones we’ve got today. Read on to learn about some of the coolest technology hitting the roads in the next ten years.

1. Automated Driving

Some companies, namely Tesla and Google, have already begun the development of fully automated vehicles. Fully automated driving — requiring no driver interface whatsoever — is still in it’s beginning stages, but many experts believe we’ll see many more automated vehicles on the road going forward.

Self-driving cars have the potential to expand mobility for certain people, such as disabled or elderly individuals who can’t drive themselves.

For cars that aren’t fully self-driven, automated features will still see a rise in popularity. Certain features that are already available, such as lane assistance that will take over the steering wheel in the event a driver swerves too far, already exists in some cars but will become more of a standard feature over time. Automated Emergency Brakes (AEB) will become standard as well.

This automated technology will make vehicles safer and reduce accidents, while things like automated parallel parking will make life more convenient.

2. Alternate Power Options

The environmental impact of the cars we drive is an increasing consumer priority. Scientists have been developing promising fuel alternatives and modifications to the electric vehicles already on the market to provide more efficient and eco-friendly options.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles are one exciting fuel alternative we may see more of in the future. Hydrogen-powered technology’s only byproducts are heat and water, meaning there are no emissions. Solar-powered vehicles are also a strong potential for clean running cars that have the potential to be extremely budget-friendly.

Electric cars have been around for quite a while, but still present a number of issues that have limited their popularity. While problems like infrequent charging stations are expected to improve with time anyway, the batteries themselves may go through a few makeovers by 2030.

Solid-state batteries are a lighter, safer,  simpler battery with less cooling requirements than the lithium-ion ones we use presently. Some experiments have also been suggested with nanotechnology, that if distributed around the exterior of the car, could produce and store energy and replace the need for clunky batteries or engines that are prone to problems.

3. Recharging On The Road

As electric vehicles take off, companies have begun thinking about one of the largest barriers to their use: the ability to easily recharge them. While Tesla alone has already installed more than 12,000 charging stations worldwide, drivers may still find that the difficulty in accessing charging stations can limit their ability to travel far.

One creative way car companies have developed to address this issue is to abandon the concept of the charging port, instead thinking about building roads that supply energy directly to electric vehicles as they drive — a technique known as “dynamic charging.”

In Sweden, a 2-kilometer strip of road testing this very concept has already been developed, allowing electric vehicles to gather energy from tracks of rail installed in the road. If widely-deployed, such technology could make electric vehicles significantly more convenient for the average user.

4. Self-Diagnosing Vehicles

Today, when drivers realize there’s something wrong with a vehicle, they either have to figure out what the problem is through trial and error, or bring it to a mechanic for an expert opinion. Mechanics already have access to tools that can read a car’s Onboard Diagnostic system (OBD) to more easily identify errors, but this is not always fool-proof and is inaccessible to individual car owners.

Experts in the industry predict that artificial intelligence and the expanded use of sensors within a vehicle can improve a car’s ability to accurately self-diagnose and even address problems without human intervention, particularly as increasingly complex digital technologies are included in new vehicles.

5. Digital Assistance

Many cars on-market today feature basic voice-control features that let you do things like answer calls or change the song while you’re driving. Looking forward, we can expect these features to expand in some major ways. Your car’s computer may soon be able to suggest improved routes based on your driving habits, switch to automatic driving in certain emergency situations, or find parking for you.

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