It’s no secret today’s cars are getting faster, more efficient and better equipped than ever before. And in the years ahead, innovation on the part of manufacturers will only continue.
According to the “Strategy&” arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, new cutting-edge specifications made in the automobile industry are continuing to advance technology at low prices. In the past, self-driving cars and other highly-efficient vehicles were seen as the luxury cars of tomorrow that few thought they could actually afford.
But the price shift means more autonomous and smart vehicles will take to the road, keep drivers safer and improve efficiency. That’s good news for today’s drivers who are keeping a close eye on new trends and who expect to see new advances in technology with each new purchase. From smart dashboards to tires that check their own pressure, here’s how car technology is poised to change the industry in the long term.
1. Smart Dashboards
The same type of technology that turned flip phones into smartphones is now entering the automotive industry. In fact, accelerated innovations are already enabling car dashboards to answer your calls, pull up maps to navigate you on road trips and play your favorite music while you drive. However, safety concerns are bound to be floated with innovation, particularly how technology advances might ultimately distract drivers. That’s why autonomous driving could be the answer to increasing safety.
2. Autonomous Driving
Experts are already predicting the self-driving car revolution will eliminate 90 percent of car accidents. And while this technology isn’t as prevalent today as it’s projected to be in the near future, we’re already seeing some car manufacturers taking steps in the right direction. For example:
- Nissan has been working to develop its seamless autonomous mobility system, or SAM, which will combine a vehicle’s artificial intelligence with real-time human decision-making to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations. Additionally, Nissan’s Safety Shield technology can “see” 360 degrees around your vehicle and alert you to risks from anywhere as well as automatically apply the brakes if necessary.
- Meantime, General Motors is working with Lyft to develop self-driving cars for the ride-sharing industry. In the years ahead, there could come a time when ride-sharing our way to work — and to and from other everyday activities — will make more sense than owning a car outright. We could simply use an app to alert a driverless car to pick us up and take us to our destination of choice.
3. Smart Tires
Contrary to popular belief, smart technology is being implemented not only in our vehicle’s interior, but also outside popular two- and four-door sedans. In fact, smart tires incorporate sensors that can communicate road and weather conditions back to your vehicle.
Additionally, these concept tires are seeing advancements in tire-pressure monitoring that can extend their longevity and efficiency. And we’re already seeing a big change in how tires can be bought and installed. Online retailers like TireBuyer.com make it possible to order quality tires that can be delivered to a preferred car dealership or auto shop for installation at a low cost.
4. Energy Efficiency
According to research compiled from the Union of Concerned Scientists, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions. In all, automobiles emit nearly 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases per one gallon of gas.
But driving more fuel-efficient cars, switching to 100 percent electric vehicles or purchasing smart tires are just a few of the ways you can improve efficiency — and better protect Mother Earth. Driving fully automated vehicles also has the potential to save even more energy — and dramatically reduce carbon emissions — through controlled acceleration and braking.
5. Remote Vehicle Shutdown
The ability to remotely disable a car’s ignition is a technology already available in some of today’s vehicles. For example, OnStar can remotely shut down stolen vehicles and help quickly end police chases before they escalate out of control.
By 2020, it’s projected that this technology will become mainstream and make a big impact on deterring crime. In fact, it’s possible that this innovation can impact the auto insurance industry for the better and reduce high-speed chases on streets and highways resulting from auto theft.
Despite all these advances, there’s no need to ditch your existing car — at least just yet. Instead, identify your goals in the way of protecting the environment and saving some extra bucks. Start by looking for tires, apps and systems that can help improve your own driving experience. Who knows — you may find the tools you need to create a worthwhile driving experience, all while watching the automobile industry continue to evolve.