You can’t go a single week without hearing about the latest breakthroughs in self-driving vehicles, automotive artificial intelligence, and other innovations in the automotive industry. While some of these ‘innovations’ are just marketing hype, many of these are truly game-changing and worth watching out for.
Five top automotive tech innovations include artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and Human-Machine Interface (HMI). These innovations are changing the industry by making cars safer and more convenient to drive. Yet, it's also entirely possible that they're making people overly dependent on technology to drive safely.
In this article, we’ll explore the effects of cutting-edge technologies on the automotive industry and take a closer look at the top five technology innovations that are changing the industry as we know it.
Keep on reading!
How Has Technology Affected the Automotive Industry?
Technology has many side effects on the auto industry, and indeed people will have their own opinions about it, too. Still, it’s not hard to see that these effects generally fall into two broad categories: convenience and safety.
Unfortunately, you rarely hear about the drawbacks of new auto tech, or any tech for that matter. To give you a complete picture, let’s take a closer look at the effects of technology on the car industry, both the good and the bad.
Innovations Enhance Convenience
Without a doubt, technology has affected and will continue to affect the automotive industry in terms of convenience. The Internet-of-Things or IoT is a perfect example of this. Simply put, the IoT makes everything much more connected to the internet, including cars and various sensors on them.
This type of connectivity makes it much easier for drivers to monitor the state of their car and its car parts in real-time. With all of that data in hand, drivers will rarely find themselves broken down on the side of the road, as the car will inform them of issues long before anything becomes a problem.
Automotive IoT is just one example. As you’ll see later in this article, most technology innovations offer at least some degree of added convenience.
Automotive Techs Increase Safety
Besides offering convenience, technologies that increase driver and passenger safety are always in high demand. Some people might find it hard to believe, but today’s roads are much safer than they’ve ever been because of cars and their innovative safety technologies.
Humans Have Become Overly Dependent on Technology
Unfortunately, human beings tend to become overly reliant or overly dependent on technology. That’s especially true when that tech takes care of our convenience and safety so that we don’t have to do it ourselves.
Here’s a perfect example: Drivers deliberately sleep while their autonomous car drives them down a highway, despite warnings against it by carmakers and authorities.
That’s a dramatic example, but to some degree, drivers today aren’t as sharp or cautious as in the past because we rely so much on tech to keep us safe rather than do it ourselves.
What Are the Top Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry?
Let's look at the top five innovations in the auto industry!
#1 Artificial Intelligence
Imagine a car that could think for itself and make its own decisions. That's generally what artificial intelligence is all about. Besides leading to the growth of autonomous vehicles (which we'll discuss in #4 later), AI also helps create safer cars by identifying dangers on the road and making decisions on behalf of the driver.
One of the most common examples of AI today is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems and other driver-assist features on current car models. With AI, our cars can make the same life-saving decisions that we do, but at a fraction of the time. Better yet, they can do it even when drivers are distracted.
#2 Internet-of-Things (IoT)
Just a few years ago, it would’ve been unimaginable to have things like toasters and doorknobs connected to the internet. Yet, we now find cars with even more sensors than ever before, connected and supplying data in real-time.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) and the data produced from it, our cars become much safer and more efficient. That's because the car will prompt the driver when there's an issue, enabling the driver to quickly respond before it turns into a dangerous or expensive problem.
Combine IoT with things like artificial intelligence, and you’ll have automated features like cars ordering their spare parts, for example.
#3 Electric Vehicles
The global march away from combustion-engine vehicles has been a slow one, but there’s no doubt that the march is indeed happening. Once upon a time, hybrid cars were the most cutting-edge type of vehicle out there. Now, almost all leading car brands worldwide are releasing all-electric models with zero-reliance on fuel.
It used to be that car buyers were concerned with things like engine size and fuel consumption. These days, the difference between one car and another comes down to things like range and the speed of charging batteries.
#4 Autonomous Driving
Autonomous driving is another tech innovation that continues to get better each day. Currently, there are six levels of vehicle autonomy (from Level zero to five), each one more advanced than the last. While we’re not at the level where cars can totally manage the driving process from start to finish, it’s clear that the auto industry is well on its way.
Some vehicles with total autonomy (i.e. Level Five) are now being tested in many parts of the world, but none are available for the public yet.
Considering how fast autonomous driving has evolved, it won’t take long before Level 5 becomes the norm.
#5 Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
Lastly, there’s Human-Machine Interface (HMI). In simple terms, HMI refers to how we, humans, interact with our machines. In a car, that would mean how we use the steering wheel, pedals, buttons, and so on, basically anything we touch to make the car do what we want it to do.
Right now, one of the most innovative examples of HMI is voice control. These days, many cars offer drivers the ability to issue voice commands, such as using voice recognition system to operate the infotainment system or make a call.
Still, think a little further into the future when voice and mind control might become possible for car driving functions.
Think that’s crazy? Well, consider this. Elon Musk, who leads the way in electric cars and rockets, is working on a brain-to-machine interface called the Neuralink. At this point, there’s no mention of him or anyone else applying that kind of technology to cars in particular, but it’s not that hard to imagine both of those technologies coming together in the distant future.
Learn the Latest from Carpart.com.au!
To learn more about the latest in artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, or even electric cars, keep your eyes on the blog at carpart.com.au. There, you’ll see frequent updates about the auto industry’s latest, whether in Australia or beyond.
By Ray Hasbollah