Think about it: we’re not really driving motor vehicles how they were originally conceived. Gone are the days of the classic Chevy Nova, El Camino, and Advance Design. We’ve left Ford’s Model T far, far behind and have evolved so much within a 100 years’ time that now, it’s more like driving around in a computer on wheels than an actual car.
It’s incredible how much innovation we accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. Who’s to say what cars might look like in another 100 years? If modern advancements in technology can give us any hint, it’s safe to say that the automotive industry will again look dramatically different. Let’s take a look at three different technological upgrades that will certainly change how cars are made, how they look, and how they operate.
1. Automotive Parts Manufacturers and Plastic Injection Molding
If you’ve ever gone to the mechanic due to a busted suspension belt or water pump, only to receive an estimate that makes your jaw drop, then you probably are aware of how expensive car parts are to replace. It’s typically the premium manufacturing costs of German sports cars that drive the purchasing price of these luxury vehicles sky high.
However, we’re seeing more and more automotive manufacturers embrace the plastic injection molding technology. Otherwise known as polymer injection, this tech allows them to augment the manufacturing of mechanical components such as:
- Door panels
- Panoramic windows
- Safety belt tensioners
Ultimately, this results in high-quality, low-cost manufactured car parts. These savings are predicted to be passed onto wholesalers, so auto dealerships should begin to start ticketing these manufactured vehicles with lower price tags (adjusted for inflation annually).
2. Information and Communication Technology
Continuing our discussion of manufacturing, it’s predicted that by 2020, 90% of all new cars will cover several types of connectivity platforms that make use of information and communication technology (ICT).
Almost certainly, the e-car is the way of the future as consumers’ lives become more and more enmeshed with technology. However, it’s not just user-engagement with Internet connectivity, social media networks, and entertainment elements we refer to when we discuss ICT in the automotive industry…
It’s important to also address the car components that will now be able to “communicate” with various satellites, vehicles, roads, highway signs, and logistics systems. For example, ICT that’s applied to engines may be able to reduce fuel consumption through data monitoring, and consequently, lower CO2 emissions. Cars will continue to be in touch with aid services and maintenance analysis, signaling when both the driver and the vehicle itself is in need of attention.
Benefits aside, it’s important to note the potential risks that may arise from increasing ICT trends within the automotive industry. E-cars are similar to computers in that they are “online”, which presents the possibility of a hacker overriding the system. If someone were to maliciously enter the operating system and modify its functionality, they could override the breaks or hijack the acceleration speed, preventing the driver from being able to stop which could result in a potentially fatal outcome.
Manufacturers will need to be hyperaware of these threats as driverless cars and ICT vehicles make their way to the market.
3. The Electric Aesthetic
So far we’ve discussed technological trends that will change how cars are made and how they operate, but what about their appearance? As it turns out, the automotive industry may be in for quite an overhaul in terms of how vehicles on the road will start to look.
The push towards electric vehicles (EVs) is not slowing down anytime soon and the competition between automakers to stand out from the lineup of models has never been greater. Because EVs don’t require an internal combustion tank, there are many new and exciting design opportunities to explore.
Batteries will be packaged in unique ways and frames will appear increasingly aerodynamic and futuristic. EVs require less front air intake so grills may become a thing of the past. Without a motor engine, many of the gauges will be eliminated from the pilot’s cockpit and replaced with features that emphasize user experience. Who knows, these cars may evolve so dramatically that they resemble a hovercraft on wheels — and the next revolution might not be so far behind, either.
These are only three automotive trends that might suggest it’s time to invest in technology; what have you noticed shaping the industry? Let us know in the comments below.