Big Changes in Vehicle Technology
The vehicle industry has changed a lot since the invention of the earliest cars in the 1800’s and every decade since then. Today, things that were once the topic of science fiction films and books decades ago, such as self-driving cars, are starting to become a reality for consumers in our modern world. While not widespread yet, many companies are experimenting with different models and features for self-driving cars to prepare for the day when they are. Consumers have seen things such as GPS taking over the role of traditional navigation means like physical maps, and ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber have reshaped the taxi industry and how people catch a ride in cities.
Even more present is the existence of electronic vehicles as an alternative to traditional gas-fueled vehicles, in a world where efficiency and the impact on the environment is becoming ever more important. These come in different types, such as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) which run on electric motors and are powered by battery packs, to Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) which also include a small traditional combustible engine, to Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) using electrochemical processes to convert hydrogen into electricity for their motors. Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as the technology behind them improves and problems making them unviable to most as a daily means of transport, such as short battery lives, are becoming a thing in the past. Businesses, like Edmunds, are making it to where the public can easily access and obtain these vehicles by purchasing them.
In addition to electric vehicles, there are many more advancements in technology that are starting to reshape how consumers use and interact with vehicles. Vehicle-to-everything communication, known as V2X, allows cars to communicate with everything from other cars to infrastructures. V2X could improve the flow of traffic through communicating with things like traffic lights or toll booths that normally slow down the flow of traffic significantly. Even simple things like Internet in cars has changed in the past decade alone.
Advanced technologies like augmented reality may allow drivers to use windshields in place of traditional HUDs and interact with it like a touchscreen to display information — speed, weather, and more. With augmented reality dashboards, drivers could see symbols telling them where to go without having to look at maps or a phone while driving. Many hope that these will contribute to both safety and efficiency on the road, since they open up opportunities that were not previously available and can provide drivers with extra information.
In addition to the impressive futuristic technologies, there are many leaps forward in safety, vehicle efficiency, and other more subtle ways to improve the driving experience. Cameras on vehicles can give users a greater view of what’s around them to check for obstacles or dangers, and there are now tools like tire pressure sensors, lane change sensors, and more.
While many of these are budding new technologies in their infancy, it’s likely they’ll become more commonplace and accessible as the technology improves. Things that now may seem like science fiction might again become a reality in coming years as new inventions crop up and the old ones are improved upon.