Technology has made a huge impact on the automotive industry. Things are no longer as they were two decades ago. The design and performance of the vehicles have changed drastically, thanks to technology.
While all this is good for the overall driving experience it is hard to keep track of all the changes. We spoke to SC Vehicle’s founder Peter Mann and he gave us the top 6 automotive trends for 2021.
You’ve probably seen or heard of a self-driving vehicle. A few decades ago, this was only a dream. It is now becoming a trend in the current automotive scene.
Autonomous driving allows the vehicle to take control in certain situations, either to avoid accidents or make driving more pleasurable. Modern advancements in autonomous driving come at different levels.
Driver assistance assists the driver in the driving of the vehicle. The driver is in total control both physically and legally. They can switch off or tweak the settings of the driver-assist as they wish.
Driver-assist helps with features such as attentive front-seat passengers. It also monitors parts of the vehicle’s environment by using signals that point out errors or inattentiveness of the driver.
With partial automation, the vehicle’s system gets to fully control the gas, brakes, and steering. Some vehicles also use sensors to monitor the vehicle environment. The car can automatically follow the right lane or follow a preceding car, it can also recognize changing speed limits and adjust accordingly.
Vehicles with partial controls can even overtake other cars on the road and take evasive maneuvers to avoid accidents. The driver’s responsibility is to monitor the environment and system at all times and intervene when needed.
Conditional automation requires that the vehicle take full control of the environment. The driver can handle other activities while in the car without having to monitor the environment. However, they should be able to intervene immediately after a warning period.
The driver plays the role of the passenger. The vehicle is in full control and the driver can fully focus on other things. They do not need to keep an eye on the traffic and will not be required to take over at any point.
The vehicle has to handle failures and bring itself to a safe stop. The responsibility and legal ramifications are transferred to the manufacturer.
These vehicles are fully autonomous to the point of not needing a steering wheel or foot pedals for gas and brakes. The current technology for these kinds of vehicles is not yet fully developed and there are many conditions to meet before the production of fully automated vehicles can commence.
For decades, or ever since they were first invented, cars have relied on fossil fuels for power. This dependence on depleting fossil fuels has its ramifications on the environment.
The answer was the development of completely electric vehicles which do not need to rely on fossil fuels such as petrol, diesel, and gasoline to move.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The internet of things involves a vehicle’s interactions with other vehicles or infrastructure to enhance safety, improve drivability, reduce pollution and solve problems such as traffic congestion. Companies are creating vehicles with different sensors that collect data about the vehicle and its surroundings to help it understand its surroundings.
Driver-vehicle interfaces & contactless tech
How the driver interacts with their vehicle is important. Drivers were used to switches, levers, and knobs to operate the different features of the car. Then came touchscreen interfaces that are abundant on most modern cars.
These two interfaces come with a degree of risk because they can distract the driver. But thanks to technology, there is an emergent trend of vehicles having contactless operation through voice commands and gestures.
You might no longer need to wait for the dreaded check engine light on your dashboard.
Incoming technology is allowing software monitoring of different car parts and systems to warn you of any failing parts way before they fail. Predictive maintenance uses Machine learning to monitor your car systems and flag potential issues. This will give you ample time to repair or provide maintenance to your car.
Additive manufacturing involves the 3D printing of spare parts. Thanks to the technology of industrial 3D printing, car parts can easily be printed on sight and fitted with minimal risk of failure.
These are just but a few technology trends in the automotive industry. You should expect more trends and advancements every year. More inventions mean driving will be safer, more autonomous and the will be less damage to the environment.