Gone are the days of conventional wisdom in the automotive industry. Now, it’s not about bigger, better, faster so much as it is about smarter.
In January 2015, Forbes contributor Karl Brauer published Top 10 Advanced Car Technologies by 2020. His article included some predictions that, at the time, may have seemed bold for a five-year forecast, but as we approach the halfway mark, I wonder if we’ll be seeing several of these before the 2020 mark.
1. Autonomous vehicle – realistically, this is going to happen. Will it be fully autonomous by 2020? The probability is low, mostly due to updates required in our infrastructure. But the technology continues to advance daily and will no doubt be available sooner than many expect.
2. Driver override systems – imagine pressing the gas pedal, but your vehicle slows down. Once upon a time, that probably meant you were out of gas. But up-and-coming technology is likely going to give your vehicle the final word on safe driving.
3. Biometric vehicle access – from keyless entry to “key-fob-less entry,” fingerprint scanners and/or retina scanners may soon become the standard way to unlock your vehicle. Personally, I hope this will work better than my fingerprint access on my phone.
4. Comprehensive vehicle tracking – some insurance companies have been offering rate discounts to customers who voluntarily enlist to have a tracking device installed, recording their driving habits. But will this someday be a requirement?
5. Active window displays – envision your navigation showing your next turn on the windshield, negating the need to glance down at the small-screen display on your dash. Versions of the heads-up display have been available for several years, mostly as aftermarket technology. But as customer demand grows, something that once seemed like sci-fi technology could easily become part of your everyday life.
6. Remote vehicle shutdown – with many safety and security advantages, this technology has been available for several years, although many who had (and have) it are unaware that it exists on their vehicle.
7. Active health monitoring – seatbelt and/or steering wheel sensors that can measure a driver’s vital statistics could be paired with autonomous technology that can not only pull over, but also call for medical assistance, if necessary.
8. Four-cylinder supercar – introducing smarter cars does not mean the want for faster cars will simply go away. Manufacturers will instead be tasked with creating ways to better combine efficiencies with the need for speed.
9. Smart/personalized in-car marketing – in-car internet connections will likely mean advertisers will also become savvier in their use of the metrics this connection provides. Prepare for your vehicle to one day recognize your habits and provide you with ads that are not only personalized, but also location-based.
10. Reconfigurable body panels – what would happen if you combined an SUV with a pickup truck to make one vehicle? A retractable roof, side panels and side glass would store within the lower body panels while back seats stored below and … voila! Your SUV has transformed in to truck.