Smart, autonomous, talking cars – what is coming next?
New or updated car models are announced each year with ever more advanced technology. This includes increasingly autonomous vehicles, with self-parking functions, radar and cameras to read the road and prevailing conditions. Digital displays are getting more widespread and sophisticated. New drivetrains are improving fuel economy. And in-car concierge services can tell you if there is traffic ahead and suggest an alternative route, book your vehicle service, find the nearest cash machine or call the emergency services in the event of an accident. So what can we expect more of in the coming months and years?
Top predictions for new car technology
Increasing autonomy – Entirely autonomous vehicles have been making headlines but autonomous features have been creeping into new models for years, from AEB systems through to parking assist. While roads won’t be full of hands-free self-driving cars anytime soon, more and more autonomous features will find their way into our vehicles.
Driving assistants – Our smartphones are likely to know more about our habits and routines than our vehicles but this is set to change. Virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, are prevalent in our daily lives and similar technology is now being brought into some models. They will personalise our driving experience based on our preferences and take voice commands to make adjustments – replacing manual buttons and levers.
Smarter cars – Most cars let you know when there’s an engine fault but wouldn’t it be nice to know the fault is coming in advance. Cars will be able to predict which part will fail, book an appointment at your preferred garage and order a replacement. They will also self-configure to your driving style, road and weather conditions, to improve safety.
Augmented reality – Most manufacturers are replacing analogue dashboard displays with digital, providing more options for the driver. The next step is augmented reality, with potential for next-generation heads-up displays in cars.
Data collection – Data is the lifeblood of our increasingly digital economy and our vehicles are collecting more and more of it. Personal concierge services require your location, personal demographics and vehicle characteristics and, in return, you get a wide-range of services. Data is also being collected by manufacturers, so they can improve their productivity and provide better customer service.
Electric drive – All manufacturers are exploring alternatives or improvements to the internal combustion engine, from hybrid and energy recovery systems to fully electric vehicles. There will be ever more alternatively fuelled vehicle offerings each year, as manufacturers move towards an electrified future, ahead of a ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles in the UK and other EU countries in 2040.
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