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The history of vehicles is a tale of innovation and steady progress. The industry has been highly competitive from the first Ford vehicles today, featuring repeated novelty and change.
Whether it consisted of finding ways to derive more horsepower, achieve greater gas mileage, or signing better safety, the auto industry spared no expense to try to outperform the competition.
But what could the future hold for motor vehicles? Will cars ever become capable of flight?
They might, but a lot of questions remain about that. There aren’t many questions about the following five advances, though, because they are already taking place.
Self-Driving Cars: Navigate the Roads Safely
Imagine sitting back in your vehicle, relaxing, and letting it do all the driving. That’s the promise of self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles.
Equipped with sophisticated sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence, these machines are supposed to perceive their surroundings, make decisions, and navigate without human intervention. As the technology advances and becomes more widespread, self-driving vehicles offer the potential to reduce the number of crashes and congestion while making commuting more efficient and stress-free.
Companies such as Tesla have already developed a self-driving car. However, given the lack of sufficient real-life data, consumers and local governments continue to hesitate about accepting this feature completely.
It’s probably only a matter of time before the general public and municipal and state governments recognize this option.
Innovative Software: Predict and Prevent Issues
One of the most central issues in the auto industry is that, for the most part, everything is based on a standard that isn’t specific to any particular individual’s driving style or vehicle’s capabilities. Thus, for example, an oil change is advised after six months or 2,000 miles.
Tire rotations and other standard maintenance are also tied to a standard. But car owners drive differently: Someone who routinely travels dirt and gravel roads may require more vehicle maintenance than someone who primarily operates on city streets or the highway.
Yet little differentiates between these two drivers under current general guidelines. In the near future, that could change.
Software programs like Cetaris are already working with construction, truck fleets, and other industries to design more innovative and specific ways of alerting and proposing services and maintenance. Cetaris does this by having its equipment steadily submit data on the condition and needs of each vehicle.
As more data comes in, the software absorbs the habits and trends related to when and how cars wear down and fail. The program can thereby generate data that’s more specific to each driver when it recommends a change or check-up, ideally before any issues arise.
Since the software already exists, this could easily become a standard feature in all vehicles someday.
Sustainable Materials: Building Green Machines
As concerns over the state of the environment grow, the automotive industry has embraced sustainability in vehicle manufacturing. If you’ve watched TV lately, you may have noticed a big push for electric and hybrid vehicles.
This is partly an attempt to lower fossil fuel emissions and release less CO2 into the atmosphere. But it doesn’t stop with the fuel.
The future of cars will likely encompass the use of innovative and eco-friendly materials, such as recycled plastics, bio-based composites, and even vegan leather interiors. The incorporation of sustainable practices will reduce our footprints on the environment, and represent a more responsible and earth-conscious approach to transportation.
Augmented Reality (AR) Dashboards: A Futuristic Driving Experience
As technology evolves, so will the way we interact with our car. In the future, augmented reality (AR) dashboards are apt to become a standard feature in motor vehicles.
AR overlays digital information on the windshield, to provide real-time navigation, road hazard alerts, and even vehicle diagnostics. That enhances situational awareness and ensures drivers can keep their eyes on the road while obtaining other crucial information.
We are already seeing early stages of this innovation with what our phones receive while driving. Google Maps and other apps warn and advise drivers about hazards, alerts, and other conditions that could affect driving times.
Soon, these alerts could be showing on the dashboard and providing live updates and guidance.
Hyperloop and High-Speed Transportation: Beyond Roads
The future of cars isn’t limited to just traditional road travel. Hyperloop technology and high-speed transportation systems are being developed to revolutionize long-distance voyages.
Hyperloop pods would move at incredible speeds within low-pressure tubes, to reduce travel time significantly. This could change how we commute between cities, making transportation faster, more efficient, and environmentally friendly.
It would also open up the activities of work and leisure. Until very recently, most people had to work within 50 miles of their office or shop to make the commute worthwhile.
If high-speed transportation becomes common, the distance could at least double, opening up the possibility of living much farther from your work and closer to the beach, mountains, commercial attractions, or simply in better neighborhoods.