Automotive World: Five technologies that are worth keeping an eye on

The automotive industry has always been an exciting industry to watch, with engineers always going above and beyond in their quest to create the ultimate machine, and every time they succeeded, history was written. Iconic car brands such as Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes or Tesla have all shaped the industry in one way or another, bringing it to the point we see it today. However, nowadays it’s not just the automotive industry that dictates the path – technology also has a great say in how cars look, feel and work. Here are five technologies that are worth keeping an eye on, as they are all bound to shape the cars of tomorrow.

Smartphone Integration
Smartphones are indispensable gadgets nowadays – so indispensable, in fact, that we tend to use them even while driving, risking our own safety, as well as the safety of our fellow drivers. Even though hands free devices have been around for quite a while now, our current use of smartphones is no longer limited to making and receiving calls, but extends to other uses as well, thus making handsfree devices obsolete. Car manufacturers have understood that we cannot stay away from our phones, so along with phone manufacturers, they came up with an updated solution – a system that would allow us to use certain features of our phones safely when driving. Solutions such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto allow phones to sync up with the car’s infotainment system and grant access to the most commonly  used features of the smartphone via the car’s steering wheel controls or voice commands – options that allow the use of the smartphone in a safe manner while driving. 

Connected Cars 
Nowadays it’s all about connectivity and integration, and we’re used to have our electronics seamlessly connect and communicate with each other. What we’re not yet used, though, is having our car connect and communicate with other cars, or other electronics, but that’s exactly what the future holds for us. Technologies that allow cars to communicate to each other or to other compatible devices such as smart traffic lights already exist in various stages of development, so it’s only a matter of time until this becomes a generally-adopted tech that will ultimately lead to the creation of a large mesh of connected cars and devices, which will be especially useful for the next tech: autonomous vehicles.

 Self-driving Cars 
Self-driving cars are one of the end-goals when it comes to personal transportation. It is the idea that has been in the minds of car manufacturers since day one, but technology was not quite there to make this possible. Now, this is almost a reality, with numerous manufacturers experimenting with various self-driving features in their cars. While a fully autonomous car capable of driving through all conditions is not yet available, advancements are made in leaps and bounds, so this will certainly become a reality within the next decade.

Electric Cars Electric motors have numerous advantages over combustion engines, such as significantly lower complexity, smaller size and instant delivery of power, so it’s no wonder that car manufacturers have been dreaming of implementing them in cars for a while now. However, small and powerful electric motors have one serious drawback – they rely on big batteries to power them up, and those batteries provide a reduced range and come with a significant charging time, making them unpractical. Car makers and technology giants are working side by side to improve the design of batteries to increase their capacity and decrease charging times, and significant improvements have been made, so we’re not far from having electric cars becoming the norm.

Smaller Engines
While electric engines are still a thing of the future, car manufacturers still focus on combustion engines and how to make them better. Their solution so far was to make them smaller yet more powerful, and Ford’s EcoBoost engine is the perfect example for this – the company managed to squeeze out roughly 125 horsepower from a 3-cylinder 1.0 liters engine. More interesting, the trend also expands to sports cars, with the Porsche Boxster being a great example, as it incorporates a scaled down version of the engines found on Porsche’s renowned 911 line. While performance is not negatively impacted by this scale, prices are, so for the price you would normally get a 911, you can get a Boxster, slap on a Porsche Boxster body kit to make it look even more aggressive than it already does, and end up with a highly-attractive and surprisingly-powerful sports car, without blowing a budget.

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