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The Future of Automobile Automation and Tech Integration

The past few years have seen significant changes in and predictions for the relationship between automobile automation and tech integration. More specifically, trends for hybrid, electric and alternative fuel cars have moved towards more efficient, energy saving engines and aerodynamic frames. At the level of integrating technology into both hybrid and standard engine cars, developments in automated driving, Heads-Up Displays, and entertainment and communications, are happening at a rapid pace.

Hybrids and electrics

Toyota Auris Hybrid Logo 20100923 Considering alternative propulsion systems for cars, the immediate future for the industry appears to be focused around better hybrids, and further developing electric cars. Hybrid petrol and electric engines, and plug-in or full electric vehicles remain the focus for manufacturers, albeit with methane and biofuel cars also being developed. Electric car success stories in 2012 included the Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus EV, with the latter capable of providing a 76 mile range on its electric battery.

The established success of high mileage, low emission hybrids like the Toyota Prius also continued, with the car ranking amongst the bestselling vehicles of the year. Future trends for hybrid cars that combine safety and emission reducing technology include micro-hybrids, where start and stop EV engines, carbon frames, and solar panels, could provide cheaper costs for drivers not prepared to switch to a full electric or hybrid car.

Other major trends to watch out for in 2013 and beyond include Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, which offers an alternative to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. Honda’s i-DCT single motor system relies on electric as an assist to a 1.5 litre four cylinder engine; the result is fuel efficiency with greater engine power and speed. Major challenges for full electric cars, however, still remain, with initial costs and charging fees aligning with the need for drivers to have a charging point or garage. Innovations like ChargePoint and Ecotality networks for electromagnetic induction in cities like San Francisco also remain a niche for drivers.

Automated driving

Google CarThe dream of a car that can drive itself is becoming more of a reality, with Google’s driverless car program having achieved success with vehicles that use advanced computer technology and laser guiding to navigate roads. Licenses have already been provided for Nevada, Florida, and California, although commercial sales remain some way off. Google’s cars adapt a Toyota Prius model, and are designed to work with Google Street View and other mapping software to detect and respond to traffic. While expected to become widely available in the next ten years, these cars will more likely receive military uses before becoming commonplace on the road.

HUDs and entertainment features

There are, however, some distinctive examples of car automation being blended with technology that are currently available. Heads-Up Displays, where information on mileage, speed, and traffic is projected onto your windscreen, is already a feature in top of the range cars like the 2013 Lexus RX 350 and the BMW 3 series. HUD technology is also able to work with pre-crash safety detectors, and the Lexus GS enabling you to monitor fuel economy.

BreathalyzerOther combinations of car automation and tech to watch out for include more advanced Bluetooth, smartphone, and insurance devices. Starting with insurance, increasing availability of black box devices equipped with telematics technology have led to the growth of black box insurance from companies like ingenie in the UK. This means a black box can be fitted to allow the precise collection of driving data, to be used when reviewing insurance premiums. In terms of communications, automated text message read outs and voice responses are now available, as are rear view back up cameras, and sat navs able to connect to the cloud to update map information in real time.

More controversially, a new device fitted to cars allows you to test your alcohol limit; if the device finds you are over the limit, it will shut down your car’s ignition. While many of these features are still limited to high end car models, the speed by which car automation is progressing – evidenced by hybrid and electric growth plus the integration of other tech – is progressing suggests that they could be more widely found in the next 5-10 years.

Written By

This article was written by Seb Cowie on behalf of young driver insurance brand ingenie

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Evan

    February 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    That’s interesting info! Thanks for sharing. But as for me I wouldn’t risk to get in the car that i can’t fully control. Perhaps I’m too rational and conservative but it’s definitely not my cup of tea…

  2. Luke

    February 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Think of the productivity you’d get from being able to work whilst your car drives you to the office!

  3. Peter

    April 2, 2013 at 3:54 am

    When I was talking to friend who works for Google in the headquarters in Mountain View, and he was telling me about Google’s driverless car, and how he wanted to be part of the team to test-drive it in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, he was not that confident to drive the streets of Las Vegas, though there were routes that not many cars would frequent. I found it so cool to have such driverless car. I wonder how the technology works. I have recently sold my BMW 320d because of the swirl flaps and the damage it caused to my car. I have replaced it with blanking plates, but eventually decided to get a Ford Focus EV. However, if driverless cars were available, I would have gone for that, instead.

  4. lee

    April 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Hi
    I had always been a bit sceptical about hybrids until i ended up having to hire one when going on a road trip around the national parks of america that are near Las Vegas. What a pleasent surprise the toyota Pryus was a pleasure to drive very economical and very roomy as we had a load of camping equipment stashed everywhere. even handled itself really well on 17km of off road at monument valley. Since returning home i have found lots more out about new technolgies and the way they are going. I cannot wait until the authorities embrace these technologies and get us away from being reliant on oil.

    great post thanks lee

  5. watson07

    May 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    a nice post. At first I want to say thank you for sharing with us this kind of tremendous posting. Its my personal opinion that, Buying is much more effective than rent because then we have the freedom to do anything for next. invites you to read

  6. Gary

    May 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I am a car enthusiast and it would follow that I have seen a lot of great set ups but these stuffs that you have posted where all impressive. Thank you for sharing.

  7. mohamad

    May 16, 2013 at 4:55 am

    i’m very glad to hear of the future of automobile. also with tech integration

  8. John

    June 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    When I was talking to friend who works for Google in the headquarters in Mountain View, he was telling me about Google’s driverless car, and how he wanted to be part of the team to test-drive it in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, he was not that confident to drive the streets of Las Vegas, though there were routes that not many cars would frequent. I found it so cool to have such driverless car. I wonder how the technology works. I have recently sold my BMW 320d because of the swirl flaps and the damage it caused to my car. I have replaced it with blanking plates, but eventually decided to get a Ford Focus EV. However, if driverless cars were available, I would have gone for that, instead.

  9. Genelia

    July 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Hello !
    This post is really informative. Well, that is fact that there would be fear about driverless car but it has great advantage. Fatigue of diving a car or having a driver, such kind of tensions would not be there. Seriously whenever I am in hurry I don’t want to drive. This idea would work for the people like me.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  10. wesley

    July 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I prefer buying a new car to renting. I am not really automobile savvy though but I really enjoyed the post and the comments about automobile

  11. Richard Thompson

    August 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    This just occurred to me, but if automobile automation becomes mainstream (a very long time from now), what will happen to auto insurance? Who’s going to need coverage, if you need coverage at all? It’s far too early for people to be thinking about something like that, with the technology in its infancy, but it is interesting food for thought.

  12. Jesse Christopher

    September 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    It still amazes me how far we’ve come with automobile automation and tech integration. The whole automated driving thing is just surreal to me. I hope I never use that. I think it would take all the fun out of driving.

  13. Jason Harrison

    October 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hello,
    these new technology amazes me. Having a car that automatically will drive you to your destination safely would be a time-saver and will help many people get their work done, before work even starting! Thanks for showing me this,
    Jason

  14. Abhishek

    October 29, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I like the Google’s driverless car program. Google is really doing & implementing innovative things in United States. I hope there is not a downside of this high tech machineries.

  15. bdg

    October 30, 2013 at 3:58 am

    in fact it was the dream of all the cars that will they do to be good for consumers and guaranteed

  16. Donald Quixote

    December 10, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Interesting article, but I’m not so sure that cars that can drive themselves is really the way to go. There are just too many possibilities for it to all go wrong on the road and cause more deaths and accidents.

  17. Diane

    December 10, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for sharing this post. With the advancement of science nothing is impossible. Having a driverless program is quite impressive but we have to make sure of our safety first. Is it safe to be in that car with our family?

  18. gaurav

    December 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

    the changes may not best the leap from horses to cars, but they are big enough to undermine many of the legal systems we rely on for things like insurance, not to mention criminal law. If a car doesn’t require a driver, can a 12-year-old “drive” to his friend’s house? Can a drunk person drive home from a bar? How will insurance work if people share driverless cars? Courts and legislators will be sorting those out for years to come.

  19. Ankit Saxena

    January 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I likely to prefer manual transmission system, but automatic system is also good save and smart. That’s the future of the automobile. Nice post, i really like to thank you to sharing such a wonderful article…:)

  20. Jonathan Hill

    January 29, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Advances in vehicle telematics have made our roads a lot safer in the last few years. All major road transport companies now have telematics systems that record driver behaviour. Basically if a truck breaks the speed limit or drives aggressively then their boss will know about it and they will be reprimanded accordingly.

  21. Donald Quixote

    February 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    It’s really cool to see how technology changes the industry, I was especially surprised to read about the black box that will record your driving data for the insurance companies to review. I can see that being both a good and bad thing… Depending on how well you drive.

  22. Suprabhat

    March 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    i prefer automatic transmission system as its good and smart and we are the futures of automobiles so we should do more in it

  23. Ron Wilson

    March 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Talking about tech integration in automobiles, some car manufacturers have announced that they would be intergrating Android into the new versions of their cars. So they should be something to look forward to!

  24. Skylo

    May 1, 2014 at 10:20 am

    From 2018 it is going to be mandatory for all car manufacturers to install rear view cameras in all car.

  25. Richard Barrera

    April 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Renting a car in my country is a rare thing. Most people can`t afford it. Perhaps only for weddings and other similar events.

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