The automotive industry is ever-changing and is constantly evolving to keep up with the world around us. Advancements in connectivity, autonomous driving, and fuel storage all are shaping the way we think about transportation. So what exactly are the top automotive trends?
Let’s take a look at the latest trends in the automotive industry.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
As technology becomes more and more advanced, it can be used to help keep drivers safe on the road. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are systems that can help drivers detect accidents and assist in driving and parking functions. There are a lot of different ADAS systems, including:
- Lane keep assist
- Automatic lighting
- Blind spot detection
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure warnings
- Reverse brake assist
- Forward collision avoidance
- Cross traffic alerts
These systems rely on innovative technology including the use of software, ultrasound sensors, lidar, and radar. As these systems become more and more advanced, they will be used in autonomous, self driving vehicles. But for now they are being used in many new car models and are becoming increasingly standard in base models. About one third of the cars sold in the US, China, Japan, and Europe have ADAS features.
Self Driving Cars
Closely connected to the concept of ADAS features is the increased push for self driving cars. ADAS features are divided into six categories to describe the level of autonomy of the car. The categories are as follows:
- Level 0, No Driving Automation. The car can provide information to the driver but cannot control the car. This may include features like parking assist, lane departure warnings, and rear-cross traffic alerts.
- Level 1, Driving Assistance. The car can take control over one functionality. This may include adaptive cruise control or emergency brake assist.
- Level 2, Partial Driving Automation. The car can take over multiple functionalities. This may include highway assist and autonomous parking.
- Level 3, Conditional Driving Automation. The car can make informed decisions but the driver is still required to be alert and present to manually take over.
- Level 4, High Driving Automation. The car can make informed decisions and intervene should something go wrong. A driver can choose to manually override.
- Level 5, Full Driving Automation. The car will fully drive itself without the need of a driver. These cars will not have steering wheels or gas pedals, they will chauffeur people around independently.
Level 5 automation is the goal of many car makers, but most cars are still around level 2 or 3. Certain car manufacturers including Volvo are working on level 4 automation, although local legislation will dictate how these cars can operate in their jurisdictions.
The future of cars is self driving and autonomous, and these advances are being made today.
As our wireless infrastructure improves there is a push in the automotive community to have more connected cars. There are seemingly endless possibilities to what improved connectivity means for the future of cars. Not only are cars being connected to other devices within the car, such as the driver’s phone and smartwatch, but they are connected to the internet at large. Currently, improved connectivity is being used in the following ways:
- Send vehicle health reports
- Get real time directions
- Warn of issues with the car
- Intervene to prevent a breakdown
This type of technology is quickly developing and improvements in connectivity are a major trend in 2022 automotive technology.
Human Machine Interface
Human Machine Interfaces, or HMIs, provide an interactive experience for drivers and passengers. While we use HMIs everyday (your touchscreen and keyboard are just two examples), HMIs are constantly evolving in the automotive world. From dashboard touchscreen displays to voice recognition to augmented reality, carmakers are pushing boundaries on what HMIs can be used for and how they can make the driving experience better.
Increased Usage of Electric Fuel Cells
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are quickly becoming the most popular trend for electric vehicles. Fuel cells generate energy through electrochemical combustion as opposed to combustion. Hydrogen and oxygen are combined to generate electricity. Fuel cells have been proven to be more efficient than internal combustion engines and produce only water as a byproduct. This makes them more environmentally friendly and less prone to breaking down. Additionally, they have more instantaneous torque and provide smoother, more consistent power.
Many countries are pushing this new wave of electric vehicles, including the United States, Japan, China, Germany, and South Korea. This is because electric vehicles release 54% fewer CO2 emissions than traditional gas cars (even the newest vehicles). In the United States today there are over 1.2 million electric vehicles, and this number is expected to grow to nearly 20 million by the year 2030.
Car Subscription Services
There are currently five automakers that are rolling out subscription features for their cars– Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, and Tesla. These subscription services require owners to pay to use or unlock certain features of the car. Owners will have a monthly or yearly fee to use features such as voice recognition and driving assistance.
While subscription models are nothing new–after all, don’t we all have Netflix?–subscription models for cars open a whole can of questions and concerns.
Automakers want you to be paying customers for life. By switching to a subscription model, they will ensure that you will be a paying customer even after your car is paid off. On the plus side, this model can incentivize automakers to stay up to date on software updates and help owners keep their current cars for longer.
But this also raises concerns over safety and fair treatment of consumers. Consumer advocates worry that a charge for safety features will price owners out of safety features, making the cars less safe overall. Because of this, there is a push to ensure that all subscription features are convenience features, and that certain features become base level across the board. These base level features would ideally include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning.
But until legislature is put in place to restrict or standardize the subscription model, we can expect subscription models to become more and more commonplace.
Those are the latest trends in the automotive industry.
The automotive industry is quickly changing and evolving to keep up with technology. And while it’s amazing to see how much is changing, one thing is constant: people will always need to save money on their car loans.
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