The Future of Car Technology

It’s interesting to imagine how technology will advance and change our world in the coming years. The automotive industry is one of the most compelling areas of technological progress. What will the car of the future look like? How will it differ from those on the road today? Check out some of the industry features on the horizon—which ones will be in your next car?

Rear Cameras

You may already own a vehicle equipped with rear camera technology, but did you know that The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that all new vehicles must be equipped with rear-camera technology by 2018? The NHTSA claims that this move will save 58 to 69 lives per year, according to the Office of the Federal Register. As a result, auto manufacturers have petitioned the government to allow the replacement of side mirrors with cameras as well, claiming the former is no longer necessary, according to the Detroit News.

Exterior Airbags

While airbags are nothing new to vehicle safety, they’ve always been intended to protect the driver and passengers by deploying inside the car. Currently, developers at TRW Automotive are creating airbag technology that would exist outside the vehicle, absorbing the brunt of a collision before the frame is impacted, according to CNN.com; Autoliv also currently supplies similar exterior airbags. The airbags would fit into panels on the side of automobiles or would expand from the top of the hood to extend over the lower windshield, inflating within an incredible 30 milliseconds—a difference researchers say could reduce the impact on the interior frame by as much as 35%.

Cars That Communicate

Imagine driving down the road and suddenly coming upon a stop sign you don’t notice in time. Your car responds by quickly exchanging information with other vehicles through wireless signals, prompting you to stop, or perhaps even hitting the brakes for you. As How Stuff Works explains, this technology is called vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, and major auto manufacturers and the NHTSA currently are testing it out with the hope that it may reduce accidents on the road. Industry data experts at IHS Automotive predict that “new vehicle sales may start to include [V2V technology] as early as the next 2 years, and standard V2V on all new cars sold in the USA is probably 6-8 years down the road.”

*IHS Note: V2V will not be able to actuate braking; it is warning only. Other ADAS however is capable of automatic braking, and such technologies are already being rewarded in 2014 by Euro NCAP.

Similarly, researchers also are working on vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology that would facilitate communication between your vehicle and things like road signs and traffic lights. Your vehicle could even receive information about traffic conditions and alternative routes. With the implementation of both V2V and V2I technology, NHTSA reports that the number of target vehicle crashes could decline by as much as 81 percent.

Increased Automation

So much driver assistance technology is already on the road today, but, as IHS Automotive points out, much of the very advanced applications are still primarily available only in luxury cars or as expensive options. That’s likely to change as increasing levels of automation, used in low-speed traffic jams, high-speed cruising or emergency braking, force designers, manufacturers, and drivers, to reconsider what the vehicle and the activity of driving really mean in the world of today and tomorrow.

Self-Driving Cars

Many experts see cars becoming so fully automated that they drive themselves entirely. While some drivers out there love the feel of the steering wheel in their hands, many would rejoice at the thought of sitting back and relaxing while they’re driven from point a to point b without ever having to look at the road. Technology is in the works that enables vehicles to process and evaluate information about their surroundings faster than humans by using lasers, radars and cameras, according to How Stuff Works. By eliminating the risks of human error, this advancement may prove to create a safer driving environment. Analysts at IHS Automotive explain that driver error is responsible for as much as 90% of accidents today. They note that while self-driving cars wouldn’t completely reduce accidents and fatalities to zero, the improvements would mean that accident and fatality rates decrease substantially.

Connected Mobility Solutions

As we try to see further into the future, the possibilities are limitless. Analysts at IHS Automotive envision fully automated cars without steering wheels or accelerators that prompt you for personalized destinations and even remind you of errands and calendar items. They explain that this type of connected mobility solution has the potential to completely revolutionize the automotive industry as we know it.

What future vehicle technologies are you excited about? Share with us in the comments below!

Imagine getting into your vehicle and letting “it” drive you home. Autonomous, or self-driving vehicles, are the future of the automotive world. Do you agree?

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82 Comments

  1. 1
    NICK

    Any thing would be better than the dumb asses that are on the road here in SE North Carolina. My insurance rates went up significantly when I moved here from Northern Virginia, where there are millions of vehicles on the road. The Wilmington area has fewer than 300,000 people.

    The dingleberries down here are yet to find their turn signals, and/or figure out how to use them. And, they haven’t mastered following the curve of a road. Apparently, their vehicles only go in straight lines.

    • 2
      Rodger

      This may work for tech gurus.and Retards but people lack good Driving smarts..Turn signals slowing before turning.Or even knowing how to parellel park. Put the phone down or whatever you think is more important than paying attention to the road… Call it Common Sence……Too many lack this Skill

  2. 3
    Tiffany

    I don’t think this will be a good idea. While it might seem like it would be great to have the car control itself and get you to where you need to go – why let a computer chip do that for you? Why lost control 100%? I like that control of driving myself. I don’t trust it – technology fails all the time – the last thing I want is for it to fail when myself or my family is in the car!

  3. 5
    Jill

    It is not so much that I don’t trust technology, but when systems go down it could certainly create a problem with no hands driving., That is what scares me.

  4. 11
    jp

    yes it is a good idea ,but every vehicle must have the technology!if only several have it .What will prevent the cars that don’t from crashing into thrones that have it!.

  5. 13
    dave Diodati

    Computers are known for going down when you least expect them to. we would not want that when you are on the highway.

    it could also be another way the big brother can watch you.

  6. 15
    Roscoe Harrison

    Cars that drive them self is program by some one else.Your life would more depend on some else.Everyone drives different.Your sends signal and the other car computer don”t respond. Maybe some day but by 2018 I don’t know.Test vecicle is not line vecicle.

  7. 21
    A Very Safe Driver

    I would not let my car drive me. Even the easiest driving situation–a train on tracks–is not foolproof enough to be safe.

    Some current “safety” technology, such as anti-lock brakes, has already endangered my life. Why would I trust *any* fully autonomous technology with my life?

    Frequently, my car takes too long to stop because *it* thinks there is a problem due to bumpy pavement and minor tire hop. By design, anti-lock brakes remove maximum braking capability. Instead of backing off just a little so the tires roll/grip again, the brakes release far too much then cause more slip by how the system “pumps”. While that may assist less technically able drivers, it is a horrendous hazard to able drivers that drive well.

    Defensive driving–observing an opening gap in traffic, a slight wobble in a motorcycle, or anticipating a child running into the road based on activity (playing ball vs. riding a skateboard) is beyond current ‘driving’ technology.

    I am not opposed to assistive technology. Backup cameras and blind-spot or other warning systems are a great use of technology. However, unless and until an autonomous driving system can handle every possible situation, the best driving ‘technology’ is the well trained human operator.

  8. 23
    John

    Not surprised by the vote results at all, I’m old enough to remember the first heart transplant. (Oh my God, Frankenstein)

  9. 25
    Linda

    The vehicles of today have too many gadgets and are more costly to fix then ever before.The computer parts it would take to run a driver-less car would only add to the expense of breakdowns.

  10. 29
    RABrown

    New technology in cars is nothing new. However, as we have all experienced at some time, the new tech is just another thing that can go wrong. I certainly would not trust a car that would drive itself because I do not believe it could estimate, foresee or evaluate what another driver would do. I would rather trust my own “safe” driving skills and know the rules/laws of the road and keep my own eyes open.

  11. 31
    Denis Mugridge

    As evidenced by the MILLIONS of recent automobile recalls, automotive engineers and manufacturers have a LONG WAY TO GO before anyone could/should/would EVER trust them to build safe enough, reliable enough and unhackable “cars that drive autonomously”. . .this is the same sort of stuff that I was reading in my weekly reader in the 70’s: we are all supposed to be living under the sea right now sheltering from the ice age and eating fish, seaweed and sea cucumbers. . .

  12. 33
    Barbara Green

    I surely agree fewer accidents leads to safer roads if only people can stop drinking and driving. Say if one is caught drunk and driving, stiffer punishment imposed to that dangerous driver on the road.

    That way, our roads will be much safer.

    Thank you

  13. 35
    Ken

    2 or 3 unsolicited comments: 1-I do not view ally as a usefull entity-0% from GM is the only reason I used your services.
    2. When I had an issue all I could talk to was someone in a third world county who could not even enter a new routing # for the bank making my direct payment.
    3 next time I’ll pay the interest and deal with a bank that actually may care about the customer al be it only so long as my deposits earn them more $ than it earns me.4-please take me off your adveertising email list.

    THANKS

  14. 37
    George Fourcell

    Driving is an experience the more you do it the better you get. To be a better driver must simply drive, not be driven!!

  15. 39
    COWGIRL

    With all the technology we as individuals are getting “LAZY”! Our food being delivered direct to the door, we don’t have to get off the chair, or couch to do anything. We wonder why the a good portion of the population is obese??!!

  16. 40
    Tom Fogle

    I like to drive so information that assists in the driving would be a benefit. However, not the self driving cars.

  17. 42
    Don

    The survey is too general as I see both sides of the coin. Having lived and worked in Europe (Sweden) for two years I greatly enjoyed taking public transportation to and from work most days, and using the time to sleep, relax, and once in a while to work. I really loved having that option, yet I would also not like to give up the enjoyment of driving most any other time I am behind the wheel. Why do we have to incorporate this added expense into individual cars when we can easily employ the European model? It would give us the best of both worlds, and everyone would have the choice to use it to the degree they wished.

    Don
    Engineer @ Robert Bosch LLC

  18. 44
    Peter

    VERY dangerous situations would arise at the slightest failure in one of the levels in the technology involved in something like this

  19. 46
    R P Montini

    I don’t like the idea of being in a car driving by itself while some other percentage of unpredictable people are driving…it wouldn’t be safe…I’ll do the driving, thank you.

  20. 50
    David Carrillo

    Humans should not be driving, we are risky and error prone. The world would be better served if we spend that time doing things that matter.

  21. 52
    Panthercity

    I’ve been working in the computer programming industry for over 3 decades. I KNOW how well we can screw things up.

  22. 54
    Marlene panosso

    I have a 2013 ats Cadillac ,I love driving it I don’t ever want to NOT have that thrill ,don’t want a car that I don’t drive,love my cadi !!!,,,

  23. 56
    patricia willis

    I wish you would resolve my problem with my account ,all I ask is you take the 475 charge that no one really knows is on there and the interest that has incurred because of it.

  24. 60
    Nancy

    Technology is a marvelous thing. Just moments ago, or as it seems, we didn’t have the internet and now what would we do without it!
    So goes the automobile breezing along with technology and all the safety advantages we now have. Let’s keep going and never stop because we are a nation of ideas and fortitude with our eyes on the future.

  25. 64
    Richard

    Most accidents are caused by people being distracted by technology, in my opinion. Just the other day a person stopped in the lane to text .. don’t drive and text I guess? Let’s have technology help prevent humans from causing accidents.

  26. 66
    Conrad B

    The technology might make the vehicles safe but the current crop of humans who are having fun breaking into technology would begin to find ways to have fun by creating traffic jams and don’t think it would be too long before some would try to see who could create the most gruesome accidents. I know some will say that the tech will not allow this but all takes is to convince the tech that other events or different locations are involved.

  27. 73
    bobP

    Until ALL drivers, on their own, realize the importance of eliminating any distractions while driving, taking away driver control is ridiculous. Stupid drivers will be stupid drivers, i.e., forgetting to set the automatic controls, not being able to reset the controls once they are deactivated, idiots trying to parallel park with the automatic controls===you name it and some idiot driver will make the news. Also, in all probability, when a driver resumes control of their vehicle, will the automatic control disconnect properly. What happens when you accidentally step on the brake while in automatic control? What happens to the steering when this occurs? Too many foreseeable problems. Take away some drivers’ licenses— that should do more towards roadway safety.

    I also have reservations as to whether the brake lights will activate early enough for following tailgaters— rear end collisions by the hundreds.

    Only educated and responsible drivers will make roads safer.

  28. 79
    Raquel

    I have mixed feelings about it. It would be great for those times you are stuck in traffic or need to get from one state to the next but on the other hand what risks are involved with technology failure and hiccups?

    I’ve wondered when the “Knigt Rider” vehicle would finally become a reality. Seeing how much technology has advanced I’m sure it would be a good thing once everyone was on board with the same technology. Cost would probably influence how soon that would become a reality for all licensed drivers.

  29. 80
    Don

    It’s coming, it’s going to happen, all of the very concerned people that think they will lose control of the car or their life can just calm down. This resembles discussions I have seen in (paper) books about technology running rampant. We must keep the transportation status quo, or we will certainly perish. They were discussing the invention of automobiles in the late 1800’s. Same thing. Yes, there’s risks. People take risks. If you don’t want autonomous cars, fine, just don’t stand in the way of them getting to me.

  30. 81
    Ben Brown

    I love all the these ideas, the only conflict I would have is the no steering wheel part. Self driving would definitely make things safer and allow me to get more done during my travels but, I would like to know that I can turn the self drive mode off if anything goes wrong such as the computer malfunctioning or something, that way the good o human mind can take over in an instance. As for as all the other assisting technology such as the cameras and what not bring it on I definitely support progress and change in all aspects of the present and future.

  31. 82
    Mike

    Why do cars need a gear shifter, why can’t it just be button on the dash. The space on the console could be valuable storage area.

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