A few years ago, programming machines to think and act like human beings was an illusion. Then Artificial Intelligence (AI) happened. Today, driverless cars are common in movies, and we know it’s only a matter of time before they become a reality.
While the 20th century didn’t have many great auto innovations–beyond improved vehicle designs with better fuel consumption–an in-depth survey of 2021 automotive industry trends reveals that information-centric technologies are about to alter how drivers interact with vehicles.
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Driven by consumer behaviors, global disruptions, and technological advances, here are four automotive innovations we should expect on the roads soon.
1. Autonomous Vehicles
Cars that park themselves are already in existence, and soon, we may see self-driving cars on our roads. Google and Audi engineers have already carried out successful tests on our roads and public highways.
Vehicles that operate by obeying commands are expected to make transportation safer and faster. For example, Google’s self-driving car will record road images and have a computerized map that also reads road signs.
Autonomous vehicles will be able to see and respond to traffic lights and find alternative routes faster when there’s heavy traffic–more efficiently than human beings. The cars can also sense pedestrians crossing and obstacles. As a result, they will significantly reduce highway accidents and enhance the comfort of drivers. Drivers can even apply for car title loans from the comfort of their vehicles.
2. Inter-Vehicle Communication Systems
Cars already use vehicular data in their systems. Soon, such data will enable cars to communicate with each other and other objects in the environment–like traffic lights. In addition, the technology will allow cars to detect danger beforehand and warn drivers or hit the brakes to avoid accidents.
Automotive engineers from Ford are already testing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology that will help reduce accidents. The technology allows vehicles to exchange information using signals about their speed, direction, and location. The vehicles use this information to maintain a safe distance between each other.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers are already developing V2V algorithms that’ll help vehicles use the generated information to evade accidents.
3. Ultra-Classic Airbags
These airbags follow a simple process to stop a vehicle when an accident occurs. The friction coatings inside them slow down the car and offer twice the car-stopping power during an emergency. In addition, the bags can lift the vehicle a little, protecting the passengers from sliding under the seatbelts when a collision occurs.
Airbags now come in various designs. There are knee airbags, seatbelt airbags, undercar airbags, and curtain airbags. They use the existing safety parts of vehicles and will soon be mainstream. Mercedes has been working on its ultra-airbag technology for some time, and we can expect to see it soon on the market.
4. Augmented Reality Dashboards
Augmented Reality (AR) allows all car data to be displayed on the dashboard. This may include vital information like speed, how fast you’re approaching the next vehicle, the best evasive lane, and other road-related information. You can use the information to avoid a possible collision or take the best evasive lane.
BMW currently uses augmented reality to detect car problems. Its automotive technicians use AR glasses to examine engine parts, establish the problem, and to offer step-by-step instructions to solve the problem.
Passengers also benefit from AR technology. For example, Toyota’s AR system allows passengers to zoom in and view objects’ distance from the car via a touch-screen window.