Carl Benz made the first gas-powered vehicle in 1886. Manufacturers tirelessly redesigned that original car to be more reliable. It was then changed to be more efficient and then again to be safer. Automobile companies are constantly searching for new technologies to upgrade their products.
Some of these technologies, like seat belts, endure the test of time, and others fade embarrassingly into history (external dog carriers.) This article will cover the latest car trends and features that will soon change our driving experiences.
5 Car Trends and Technologies to Follow
The last decade saw a rise in self-driving and hybrid cars alongside increased hands-off connectivity. Bluetooth and navigation systems have become the norm, and developers are pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) integration. These are just a few future trends drivers should be excited about.
1. Self-Driving Cars
Self-driving cars have been around for a while, but they’re not commonly seen on roadways just yet. This is due to factors such as ethics, cost, and general faith in the technology. It’s not a comfortable feeling to relinquish control of a two-ton machine. After all, United States safety regulators reported nearly 400 car crashes involving assisted driving systems over 11 months.
The technology behind these vehicles is simple at a glance. They react to obstacles, stop signs, and traffic lights through sensors that send information to the car’s computer. This information instructs the steering wheel on how to move.
Speed is determined in two ways. The first is reading GPS data to know which road the car is on and using the recorded speed limit. So, drivers won’t be able to shave off a few minutes by going a bit too fast. The second way is through camera software that reads speed signs along the road. This method is prioritized over GPS data since it’s more reliable.
Many companies have high hopes and believe in automated driving as the industry’s future. However, it will take some time for the public to follow suit.
2. Hybrid Cars
Toyota started the hybrid car craze in 1997 with the Prius. Despite the car’s horrendous acceleration, its sustainable approach made it an easy sell for dealerships. This appeal hasn’t weakened over time, with hybrid model sales shooting up nearly 150 percent in 2021.
Hybrids achieve greater efficiency and mileage by supplementing a gas engine with an electric motor and battery. This trade-off doesn’t come without its downsides; its viability will depend on the owner’s driving and lifestyle.
Hybrid vehicles cost less in the long run due to cheaper maintenance costs on parts like batteries and electrical systems. They’re also built from fewer components to reduce the possibility of part failure.
However, hybrids also lack the horsepower and acceleration of traditional cars. They’re unsuitable for heavy-duty tasks like towing that will quickly drain the battery. These factors will vary between models, so shop around before making a permanent choice.
3. Auto Connectivity
Safety, efficiency, and convenience are the pillars of a good driving experience. For the latter, car buyers rely increasingly on technologies like Bluetooth and GPS. The gap between cars and smartphones is shrinking by the day.
However, the next generation of cars takes connectivity a step further. A connected vehicle accesses the internet and enables developers to use a new world of possibilities. One future application is creating an interconnected web of vehicles sharing information. Cars communicate with other cars and roads and even access the cloud. This allows the vehicle to suggest safer options while driving or even make the changes itself.
4. Sustainably Built Cars
The world is gaining more awareness of cars’ impact on our environment. In response, more manufacturers are implementing sustainable practices into their production models. These changes include switching out leather seats or using recycled plastic bottles in the design.
These features and processes are incorporated into vehicles at every price point, so buyers don’t have to sacrifice style or performance to drive a car with an environmentally friendly reputation. Even luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Bentley Motors Limited are adopting greener outlooks.
It’s helpful to visit your local dealership and speak to a salesperson directly to find an eco-friendly car. Use this information and shop around for prices from different dealerships to get an idea of what options are available in every budget.
5. Interactive Windshields
The windshield is no longer just a glorified bug blocker but is instead the next frontier of car tech. Imagine a windshield that can display navigation prompts and possible routes or suggest a nearby coffee shop.
There are already some early examples of this from companies like BMW, who made headlines last year when they showed off their BMW i Interaction EASE at CES 2020. Augmented reality is also making strides in other places like side mirrors and dashboards. The most extensive example of this would be Sony’s Vision-S electric car which was announced last year.
This technology could change how we interact with our cars in many ways: not only will it allow drivers to access more information safely while driving, but it also enables new opportunities for advertisers wanting to reach consumers on the go.
New technologies will continue to change how we interact with cars. Questions will naturally arise alongside these changes, and it’ll be up to consumers to know how to use these technologies responsibly.
From self-driving cars to video-capable windshields, the future will be exciting for drivers and passengers alike. Some of these innovations are already ready for use – all we have to do is start looking!
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