What Automotive Technology to Expect in 2016
With 2015 over, we have seen various technological advances in the automotive industry jump into the lime light. With examples such as autonomous vehicles and the hydrogen fuel cell powered Toyota Mirai being big talking points, it makes us question what will we be talking about in 2016?
One of the biggest talking points of the future of motoring is Autonomous vehicles. Having been discussed more in 2015 than ever before, manufactures including Tesla, Volvo and even Google are investing millions with the intention of creating a safer road network in which we can sit back, relax and let the car do the work. Last year did however raise some issues, for example, although autonomous cars are able to take a passenger from A to B with minimal input, an attentive human is required at all times to take over in more unpredictable circumstances. This is however, becoming less common and with the time and effort being invested, the question is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’ will we be driven by our own cars. Expect to hear a lot more on the subject this year.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells
The hydrogen fuel cell is the answer to issues surrounding the fully electric car. Although electric cars have drastically improved in recent years, some problems still remain. Some electric models can take hours to charge and have a total range that makes longer distance journeys unrealistic. The idea of a zero emissions vehicle with a range of over 300 miles and a refuel time of less than 5 minutes is therefore a major breakthrough. With the production of the Toyota Mirai as a prime example along with manufacturers such as Audi and Hyundai hinting at their own hydrogen vehicles, the fuel cell is finally making its way onto the roads. We expect to see more manufacturers and governments to be investing in the technology and the necessary infrastructure in the near future.
The days of having either a CD or the radio as your choices for in car entertainment are over and have been replaced with dedicated touch screen interfaces connected to the internet designed to provide you with the services of your smart phone or tablet. With various manufacturers designing their own interface, some are turning to the companies we are already familiar with such as Apple and Android to provide the software for future models. Not only will this provide familiarity for the consumer but it means manufactures can reduce costs by investing less in navigation and entertainment systems and let customers use their own integrated devices.
With CO2 emissions and fuel economy becoming an increasing issue, most vehicle manufactures are turning to forced induction to increase the power of their vehicles. Although in the past, this has typically been a feature of higher end models, the technology has advanced to provide sufficient upgrades to every day family vehicles and hatchbacks while maintaining a civilised fuel economy. Given the need for greater fuel efficiency will only increase, it may seem the days of naturally aspirated engines are coming to an end.
Smartphone Vehicle Management
Connected cars are becoming increasingly common, with which comes a wide range of new functionalities. Many vehicle manufacturers have released dedicated smart phone apps which allow you to remotely start your car, operate the headlights, the air conditioning and even obtain information on the cars current health. In fact, some are so in depth you are able to do virtually everything other than actually drive the car. Some automakers are even in the testing phase of using your phone to instruct your car to park itself. We imagine these apps are going to become increasingly common over the next year.