Looking back on the history of the automobile, it’s remarkable to look at the way things have changed and the way things have stayed the same. For example, with only notable exceptions, four wheels and an engine are things that we’ve all pretty much decided are the best options for keeping a car running and on the road. Not only that but there are plenty of things from steering wheels from headlights that might have been iterated on bit by bit, but that have stayed pretty close to their most fundamental design for the most part. However, the other main thing that you can rely on in the automotive industry is the constant push for innovation and change. From performance to design to safety to efficiency, the automotive industry has never been satisfied just to sit back and say that something is “good enough.” This is truly fantastic because it means that there are always ways in which cars can be changed and improved, no matter what. Of course, it can sometimes feel as though we’ve reached a stage where cars are pretty much as good as they can possibly be. But is that the case? Well, in short, the answer is no! In fact, there are some truly incredible innovations coming from all sides of the industry right now that are going to make cars of even the near future seem far more exciting and advanced that things on the road right now. To give you a glimpse of what the roads of the future are going to look like, here are some of the best and most exciting automotive innovations happening right now.
Let’s start with something that most people are probably pretty familiar with, at least on a conceptual level: the electric car! The electric car has been the subject of jokes for many years, with even The Simpsons getting in on the joke, because of its presumed lack of power and speed compared to its gas-powered older sibling. However, over the last couple of decades, the electric car is becoming more and more of a genuine force in the modern auto industry. With many hybrids like the Toyota Prius becoming incredibly popular among consumers and companies like https://bintellielectricvehicles.com supplying electric vehicles to all kinds of industries, battery power is catching up in a big way! Sure, it’s not likely that they’re going to take the place of classic engines entirely. After all, there are always going to be those for whom the roar of the engine is something that nothing can compare to, but in a world where we are constantly looking for new, sustainable ways to live our lives, the electric car is becoming more and more important.
If there’s one thing that car manufacturers never, ever stop trying to improve and innovate, it’s safety. After all, if your car isn’t safe to drive, people aren’t going to want to get behind the wheel! There are a bunch of different ways that the industry is producing innovate safety measures, but much of it is the kind of thing that the average consumer will never really see. It’s the new testing methods that many manufacturers are using, smashing their cars to pieces over and over again until they’re happy that they have been engineered in a way that will keep any passengers safe. Not only that but new methods of producing steel allow manufacturers to get much more strength from the bodies of their cars. Not only that but there are plenty of ways in which the safety of a car has been improved when it comes to the experience of driving it. Many cars feature smart technology that detects when you’re getting too close to something and lets the driver know. This means that the days of absent-mindedly reversing into someone else or bumping into another car while parking are nearly over. Sure, there will probably never be a way to completely remove the potential for human error out on the road, but any step towards increased safety for everyone is definitely a positive one.
This might not be most obvious innovation from the perspective of many serious gear heads since it doesn’t really have much of an impact on the performance or general engineering of a car, but for the average consumer, this might be one of the most exciting innovations of all. Thanks to things like Apple’s Carplay, you can now turn your dashboard into a fully functioning computer. No longer will you have to fumble with your phone while you’re driving in order to get the GPS to work or your music to play, all of that will be part of the car itself. You can talk to Siri, or whatever OS you want, and they will respond to your voice commands directly. This means that you can choose your driving playlist and set up the map to your destination with little more than a word, leaving you free to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
If there’s one thing that almost everyone on earth has been fantasising about since the first time they watched just about any piece of science fiction, it’s self-driving cars! The idea of being able to hop in the back of your car, tell it where to go, and simply relax on the way to your destination is the kind of thing that a lot of people would consider to be a total dream! Sure, we’re not quite at that stage yet, but many of the world’s best car manufacturers are working incredibly hard to bring this technology to life with some fantastic results. There are cars that can brake, accelerate and steer up to around 80mph as long as they can see the lanes on the road using the onboard camera. It’s not really that much of a stretch to believe that there’s a good chance that we could have fully self-driving cars within most of our lifetimes. After all, a self-driving car doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be more reliable than a human. Something that, let’s be totally honest, isn’t really that hard.
This is one of those remarkable instances where a whole bunch of innovation came from one simple discovery. One of the most important things that a lot of car manufacturers have been trying to achieve for a long time is making their cars lighter. There are a lot of different reasons for this ranging from speed to efficiency. However, one of the most important reasons behind making cars lighter is one of safety. However, the issue was often that it was incredibly difficult to find materials that were both incredibly strong without being too heavy. That’s where carbon fibre comes in. Carbon fibre was, for the longest time, something that was completely limited to formula one cars but over the last decade engineers have finally figured out how to mass produce it. This means that it is being used in more and more commercial vehicles, making them lighter, faster, more efficient, and most importantly, safer.
Speaking of efficiency, here’s something that’s actually been around for a rather long time, but never really got the kind of mass produced recognition that it deserved until the last few years. Originally produced in the 1970s by Toyota as a way to help drivers save fuel when they were on Tokyo’s highly congested roads, the desire among consumers for increasingly economical and environmentally sound vehicles created a serious push for the use of this technology. And boy was it effective! Both fuel savings and reductions in emissions were incredibly significant when this technology was first introduced, and it’s not the case that almost half of all cars produced feature this incredibly simple, but hugely effective technology. Sure, this is far from the only way in which cars are becoming more fuel-efficient, but it just goes to show how a single, incredibly simple innovation can make a whole world of difference.
Okay, so this one might be cheating a little bit since it’s hardly the kind of thing that you’re likely to experience outside of a very specific set of circumstances, but it’s also something you’re going to see much more of over the next decade or so. The idea behind fuel cells is that they use hydrogen instead of typical fossil fuels. The idea of a hydrogen powered vehicle isn’t exactly a new one, but it’s certainly something that has never really been possible until now. The Toyota Mirai is the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen vehicle. Of course, it’s not all good new. At the moment the process of creating the power for the car actually produces a lot of greenhouse gas which is certainly not ideal. However, it’s a good idea to watch this space. While it might not topple the electric car as the direction things are moving in, it’s certainly something that’s worth keeping a close eye for the next few years.