The auto industry is catching up quickly with the rest of world when it comes to developing technologies. While quantum leaps have been made in the past, you can’t help but feel that there is plenty more in store. It’s hard to predict what new technologies we will be spoilt with in the days ahead.
Given the growing complexity of computing devices, any enthusiasm is well warranted. The auto industry is duly keeping us abreast of the milestones made so we rest assured that any new developments will be shared as soon as they are debuted. Speaking of that, here are some of the new ones to expect this year.
Car infotainment systems have been the centre of criticism for a long time. If not for their inadequacies, then it is for the lack of user friendliness. But then Apple came with their announcement that a new system dubbed CarPlay was in the works. The anticipation that was stirred has only grown since. It is a system like no other that harmonizes with your iPhone 5s, and extends its core functionalities- messaging, calls, music player and even apps- into your car.
Using Siri, your car’s touchscreen and built in knobs for control, CarPlay hopes to be everything you will ever want in an infotainment system. It’s expected to debut this year with the Mercedes, Ferrari, and Volvo among others. Apple hopes that it will become more mainstream by moving to affordable brand. Ambitious yes, but completely possible.
The internet is as close to being a basic need as it can get, and manufacturers have become accepting of that fact. That is why this year will see 4G LTE connected vehicles in production. The Mercedes S Class is among the luxury cars that have embraced it.
Other big brands, such as Chrysler and GM are not far behind. The thought of a car that is connected to the internet all the time is deeply exciting, as it opens up to a whole new world of possibilities. It makes us feel one step closer to driverless cars.
Most people are familiar with driving aids, such as audible alerts that warn of blind spots. In 2014 these aids are going to be more active, capable of applying brakes, throttle and steering to keep you safe on the road. Park assist is an example of driving aid technology that already made parallel parking a less concerning problem. These technologies, if realized will prove to be more practical than luxurious and because of their safety the likely eventuality is their evolution into a standard.
Fuel Saving Technologies
The reality of dwindling fuel supplies is hitting, however slowly, and this is evidenced by the continued desire of automakers to make their engines less thirsty. It is hard to profile one such technology, since every manufacturer has their own trick, but it’s safe to say that this and next year’s models will offer you a better mpg, engine size notwithstanding. The increasing presence of hybrid cars attests to this continued drive of manufacturers to provide models with lower carbon footprints. Such is the forward-thinking approach that will make us forget about internal combustion.
This may or may not be a new technology, but the implications of switching from steel to aluminium cannot be overlooked. Aluminium is lighter and stronger, two characteristics that are very ideal in manufacturing. Mercedes for instance, have exploited these characteristics by using 60% aluminium on its C-Class and this will result in a lighter model that records fuel savings of up to 20%. This is a significant figure. The use of carbon fibre too has increased, but it is prohibitively expensive for cars that are for mass production.
There is a lot more in store for 2014, such as seats that allow height and lumbar adjustments, rear heated seats, more complex infotainment systems that can handshake with Android, as well as app integrations.
The future is indeed looking bright- not so bright to make us think that flying cars are in the horizon, but just bright enough to convince that driverless cars are a reality that is not too far away. Many more auto shows are scheduled to take place as the year unfolds, so it is safe to expect more exciting technologies.
This article is penned by William James Jack, who is car freak and loves to write anything on cars, like Car Supermarket, car selling, and car technologies.
Image courtesy Apple carplay, new auto technologies.
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