2018 is an exciting time to be following the world of cars. Many new and experimental technologies are announced practically on a daily basis, and car companies are becoming increasingly close to many technologies we previously considered to be out of reach. Just a few years ago, it wasn't particularly fascinating to hear what technologies car companies were coming up with. Sure, there's a new safety feature here and there, but anything exciting was always speculative, as they simply didn't have the means yet to make vehicles with such advanced features. However, the day has finally come where these dreams become reality. From simple advancements like new navigation systems and updated to game-changing technologies like fully autonomous vehicles and cars that run on renewable energy, here are ten features you’ll see in the future of cars.
Electric vehicles are particularly en vogue right now thanks to the prominent work of car makers like Tesla and prominent spokesmen like Elon Musk. While fully electric cars have yet to truly break into mainstream availability, a number of features you’ll see in the future show promise that renewable energy is the fuel of the new generation.
It may be 30 years or more before the electric vehicle overtakes its gas-powered cousin, but every small advancement in electric car technology is another step in the right direction. With the recent developments of electric semi trucks, fully electric public transportation will be another important step.
Windshield-based Heads Up Displays
Not all of the features you’ll see in the future will completely revolutionize the automotive industry, but they sure will look cool! Heads Up Displays (or HUDs) digitally displayed on your windshield may soon replace standard dashboard features. The trick will be to implement a HUD that doesn’t obstruct your vision while also actually being more useful than the current standard analog setup. If a digital HUD becomes the standard, one advantage to housing it directly on the windshield would be keeping your eyes on the road while you check your speed limit or fuel level.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control may not be as talked-about as some of the other features you’ll see in the future, but it is perhaps the one I’m most excited about. We’ve all experienced those long cross-country drives where you find yourself on a long stretch of highway for hours at a time. Cruise control mitigates some of the struggle by maintaining your speed for you, but other cars and, especially, semi trucks, make it so you must constantly adjust your cruise control with the flow of traffic. New frontiers in adaptive cruise control, however, will soon make this headache a thing of the past.
Adding a certain level of autonomy to your vehicle, adaptive cruise control (ACC) senses the speed and distance of vehicles in front of you and adjusts accordingly. For example, if you’re cruising at 75mph and you approach another vehicle doing 73mph, your vehicle will slow down to accommodate the vehicle and speed back up when it senses an open road. Several car companies, like Ford and Mercedez-Benz, have implemented rudimentary versions of this technology, but ACC will soon become a standard feature on all vehicles. On the horizon, ACC will even be able to guide your vehicle in city traffic as well as highways.
Autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars, have caused waves in recent news reports. In actuality, the self-driving car is nowhere close to replacing the industry standard human-controlled vehicle. While automotive manufacturers are becoming increasingly close to production-ready versions of autonomous vehicles, this new horizon will be accompanied by important legal considerations regarding responsibility and liability in the case of accidents. So there are many new features you’ll see in the future of autonomous vehicles, but don’t expect your car to drive you to work any time soon.
An extension of self driving technology, one of the biggest features you’ll see in the future is automated parking technology. Parking is a primary cause of headaches, especially in high-density metropolitan areas, so automated parking technology will be a much sought-after feature. While most car makers already feature parking assistance technology like cameras and proximity sensors, they will soon be able to do much more than that. Down the road, most vehicles will be able to park themselves, allowing for more safe and accurate parallel parking in urban environments. In fact, your car may not need you at all, allowing you to exit your vehicle and simply press a button to send it on its way, acting as your own personal, digital valet.
Communication Between Cars
One of the quieter features you’ll see in the future may not make for the most exciting headline, but it will have a huge impact on traffic in the near future, especially as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent. Cars that feature the technology will begin to establish a sort of communication network, allowing them to recognize and react to each other and warn you about sudden stops, shifts in traffic, accidents, and more. This network technology will become a necessity once self driving cars take over, allowing the vehicles to communicate with each other to coordinate their routes rather than depending on their respective sensors and cameras.
Like a few other items on this list, hybrid technology isn’t exactly a brand new concept. However, hybrid technology is coming out with several features you’ll see in the future that will keep hybrids on top of automotive trends.
If you aren’t aware, hybrid vehicles take advantage of electric vehicle features in order to supplement the traditional gasoline-powered combustion engine. While not as eco-friendly as fully electric cars, hybrids still offer a considerable increase in fuel efficiency over gas-powered cars. And while fully electric vehicles are becoming more prominent, hybrids are still in their heyday. Advances in hybrid technology will allow improvements in safety and other areas, helping to make them more desirable on our quest to end our dependence on fossil fuels.
Biometric Vehicle Access
For several generations now, iPhones and Android devices have offered biometric security features such as fingerprint scanners and, more recently, facial recognition scanners. It’s not a far leap to consider that technology joining the features you’ll see in the future of vehicles as well. Most cars will soon feature fingerprint scanning capabilities to allow you entry into your vehicle, so locking your keys in your car will be a thing of the past. And soon after, many car makers will likely that that concept one step further and allow you to start your vehicle with a fingerprint or facial scan, making keys themselves obsolete.
Apps are everywhere these days. Beyond phones and tablets, apps have made their way onto watches, game consoles, and even internet radio players. It won’t be long before apps make there way into our vehicles as well. While perhaps not the most wholesome of all the features you’ll see in the future, apps will almost certainly be a reality. Some apps, such as a more sophisticated selection of navigation system apps, will certainly have great potential benefits. However, I’m not so sure how I feel about the inevitable social media apps when they become standard in cars.
There are many amazing features you’ll see in the future when it comes to advancements in car technology, but unfortunately, they might not all be beneficial to your driving experience. If social media apps are fair game for standard vehicle technology, who’s to say advertisements won’t be as well? In a society plagued by ads from just about every angle, I don’t have faith that car companies won’t force them upon us in our vehicles as well. After all, with apps and HUDs, they’ll have plenty of real estate to do so.