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Smart technologies you need to know about for next-gen vehicles

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【Summary】We know the future of cars will be sustainable, energy-efficient, convenient and robustly functional. But what exactly are the technologies that the auto industry is delving into, to equip next-gen cars with such capabilities? Here are some that you need to know about.

Original Claire    Dec 17, 2016 10:10 AM PT
Smart technologies you need to know about for next-gen vehicles

We know the future of cars will be sustainable, energy-efficient, convenient and robustly functional. But what exactly are the technologies that the auto industry is delving into, to equip next-gen cars with such capabilities? Here are some that you need to know about.

1. Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communication

V2V refers to cars, when driving on the road, exchanging information with each other and detecting objects in its surroundings. This is important because when cars are fully autonomous, they will be fully trusted with human lives. Deeply understanding the vehicle's environment could significantly decrease accidents on the road.

2. Combustion Engine-Hybrid-Electric

Going green is an ongoing trend worldwide. If you could drive an electric vehicle that charges superfast and could reach far distances due to superior range, why drive a car that needs to burn gasoline? Although the current EV market is facing a short range problem with the limited life of its batteries, many automakers are putting forward hybrid cars to customers, as a transition. Moreover, the US government is boosting efforts to advocate the EV industry and announced detailed measures to build extensive electric charging stations around the country. Maybe in the near future, EV will gradually replace cars with combustion engines.

3. Automatic Emergency Braking

Seconds before a collision, a driver might lose control mentally. He could overreact by turning the steering wheel, jamming the brake pedal, or do nothing in that short moment. A car equipped with auto braking will warn the driver before a crash occurs, using video and audio signals, and even automatically apply the brakes for the driver.

Some advanced systems, such as what Ford is developing, could detect pedestrians passing either from the front or back, or provide evasive steering assistance to help drivers steer safely.

4. Heads-up Display

Getting tired of lowering your head and checking cellphone messages or map directions? Are you always getting distracted when a post on social media pops up on your phone? These habitual driving moves might increase your chances of getting into traffic accidents. If there's a heads-up display that could answer to your instructions and show you navigation information, you'll likely keep your eyes on the road. The 2017 Audi Q7 is adding such robust functionalities to their cars. For vehicles without built-in HUDs, Navdy is one of the most well-known companies that sell heads-up display gadgets to connect to your phone.

5. Improvements in Infotainment

Cars are getting more entertaining and becoming more functional. Automakers are starting to offer Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connection to their vehicles, so that you could browse the internet on a car screen. Furthermore, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto could streamline access to your phone apps and basic car features.

6. Cybersecurity

Convenience often comes with a price. When cars are always connected to a network, there's a greater possibility that such vessels can easily be hacked. We know researchers are capable of sneaking into a vehicle's keyless system to unlock a car or disrupt a car's autopilot/infotainment system remotely while operating on the road. When we no longer need a physical key to open a car, and could control it from a distance using a key fob or phone app, hackers will likely find ways to exploit the new technology. When large amounts of data is shared between cars and infrastructure networks, your car's safety could also be at risk. This is what some tech companies are currently working on, making it one of the biggest issues in the nascent sector.


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