|Self-driving capability will be standard on the Tesla Model 3,
the first affordable Tesla vehicle is posed to bring
“electrified mobility for the masses.”
Everyone from traditional auto makers to Uber and Amazon is thinking hard about where cars are headed, and all are working to get there fast. U.S. auto-safety regulators have mandated that new vehicles must communicate with each other through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology beginning in 2020, with the goal of increasing safety. Here’s a glimpse at some of the things to watch as the future of cars finally gets set to go into overdrive.
Connecting Vehicles to Surrounding Infrastructure
Audi is the first manufacturer to launch Traffic Light Information technology in the U.S. in select 2017 Audi A4, Q7 and allroad® models in Las Vegas. When approaching a connected traffic light, the system displays the time remaining until the signal changes to green in the driver instrument cluster. In the future, it may be possible to integrate information from these advanced traffic management systems into vehicle start/stop features, navigation systems to optimize routing, and predictive services such as presenting the driver with a speed recommendation designed to maximize the number of green lights one can make in sequence.
Preparing for Full Autonomy
No steering wheel, no pedals, no human backup—Auto industry futurists have deemed it more viable to skip the step-by-step approach where the autonomous vehicles do their thing under most circumstances but require the person behind the wheel to take control in an emergency. The problem lies in that the human expected to react can’t be relied upon to do so in a distracted environment where they are not totally responsible for driving.
Changing Roles for Auto Manufacturers
Recognizing that tech companies like Google and Uber may possibly be in competition with traditional automakers when fully robotic cars are launched, Ford was first to announce that it would join in the focus to fully take the driver out of the loop. Expecting this focus to result in expansion of concepts like car-sharing, Ford also began rebranding itself as a “mobility” company several years ago. Similarly, General Motors is said to be buying robo-car startups and working to develop an autonomous ridesharing network.
Changing Roadway Infrastructure
One of the biggest obstacles for electronic transportation has been the ongoing challenge of size and weight of energy storage, or batteries. An Israeli company is making promising breakthroughs to eliminate the need to ever stop to recharge or refuel again by retrofitting existing roads with buried coils to inductively charge electric vehicles. The states of Colorado and Nevada are already experimenting with “electric charging roads.”
The advent of the automobile in the 1920s led to drastic changes in our way of life. It looks like the 2020’s may cause the next great evolution.