The global automotive industry has been experiencing a period of rapid growth. New innovations such as the advent of self-driving cars, cars with "wings", intelligent car-to-car communication, electric vehicles that cover hundreds of miles on one charge, and cars that will stop automatically for pedestrians, are set to even increase the pace of growth in the near future. Many analysts of the auto market believe that the following features and concepts are likely to be prominent in cars made by major auto manufacturers in the next few decades.
Interactive Data Driven Windscreen Displays
One of the concepts being promoted by auto giants like BMW is the presentation of a screen full of information on the windshield. The driver will be able to see a range of important data displayed on the windscreen instead of the dashboard or in front of the gear box.
Future cars will have windscreens that show real time information about traffic, weather conditions, speed. In fact, some recently released production cars already have displays that show speed limits and current speed on a head-up display. Drivers may also be able to see the best route to take and other important details if the vehicle is in self-driving mode.
Self-driving Cars with Retractable Wheels
Most auto manufacturers are investing a substantial amount of money towards developing autonomous or self-driving cars. Although it will take about 10 or more years from now for them to become commonplace, future cars will definitely have some form of self-driving mode. Most likely, these cars will allow the driver to take over when necessary just like pilots do with airplanes.
However, in many of these cars, the steering wheel will be redundant during autonomous driving and it is likely to be retracted to allow the driver to have more space to relax. Such retractable controls may not even look like a standard steering wheel. In the last few years, Google and Tesla have displayed many prototypes of self driving cars and they plan to mass produce them in the near future.
Ever since Henry Ford, the father of automobile mass production, attempted to create a flying version of the Model T in 1926, the flying car concept has been part of many science fiction movies and cartoons. Many ambitious car designers have even created many prototypes without mass producing them.
A company known as Terrafugia displayed plans for a self-flying car that should be available for testing in 2018. But it could take up to 5 years for a commercial model to be ready. These cars will mostly be status symbols and they could be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Cars Communicating With Each Other
Today, many people are still weary of using the autopilot mode in cars like the Tesla S because of one major concern - safety. Car experts say the sensors currently used in cars are limited by scope and distance, with most of them having a maximum range of 300 feet. But thanks to dedicated auto engineers, like Professor Peng of the University of Michigan, a new technology is being developed called dedicated short range communications (DSRC). This is supposed to help self driving cars to keep track of vehicles within 1,000 feet. Ultimately, an effective car-to-car communication system will make driverless cars much safer for everyone.
With the rate at which automakers are working on innovations and new technologies to make cars more autonomous and safe, the way we drive and the kind cars of cars we use will change significantly within a decade or two.