The automotive industry is always changing. From the wheel’s invention to the vehicle assembly line techniques created by Henry Ford, cars and other public vehicles reflect societal evolution.
At present, four important trends in the industry are safety and protection, self-driving vehicles, electric cars, and urban connectivity.
Safety and Protection
On November 29th, 2020, the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix was held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Even though some will remember Lewis Hamilton, the winner of this event, most will recall the horrific accident suffered by French driver Romain Grosjean.
In an interview from a few days later, Grosjean spoke in length about the fiery inferno that almost took his life. According to news reports, it took him almost 30 seconds to get out of the wreckage.
The most astonishing part of this tale of horror is that the Frenchman is still alive, that he was able to escape with nothing a few burns on his hands. If not for the Halo safety device implemented at the pinnacle of motorsports in 2018 and the advances in flame-resistant bodysuits and gear, perhaps it would have been somebody else telling the story.
But driver safety is not an issue only related to motor racing. It concerns us all, especially those who commute to work daily or have children they need to take to school. As a result, manufacturers worldwide continue to put in enormous amounts of effort to make sure you and your loved ones are safe no matter the circumstances.
From 1982 to 1986, there was a popular action-crime TV drama called Knight Rider. The hit show starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a police lieutenant turned vigilante crime-fighter after being shot in the face.
As preposterous as this might sound, what is truly unbelievable was that Knight had a car named KITT or Knight Industries Two Thousand. Aside from speaking and jumping, this Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was equipped with a military-grade weapons system and could drive itself when necessary.
Almost forty years into the future, the idea of an autonomous vehicle seems nowhere near as ridiculous as it did back then. In fact, it has recently become a much more realistic proposition. Companies like Google and others are investing exorbitant amounts of money into developing unmanned cars that can move from one place to another.
So far, vehicles like Waymo are only used for testing purposes and have no real commercial viability. Yet, the day when we can enjoy a few drinks with our friends and safely get back home without having to drive or appoint a designated driver is fast approaching.
Every year, the natural resources of our planet are decreasing. After decades of denials and speculation, governments and private institutions are finally starting to realize the importance of policy changes as it pertains to our environment. The protection of the various ecosystems found on earth is not a matter of vanity but rather a pressing need for us and the generations to come.
This sudden awakening can be seen in all industries the world over, but more so in the automotive arena. Currently, there isn’t a well-known car manufacturing company that isn’t involved in electric vehicles’ development. And if they haven’t yet created one, they are in the process of doing so.
In countries like Norway and Germany, having an electric car has become the norm. Gone are the days of the gas-guzzling, engine-roaring, fuel-inefficient beasts of years past. In turn, they have been replaced with efficiency in distance traveled, soft engine noises, and sustainability.
And it could not have come at a better time. In an overpopulated world, few things are more important than how we move between places.
The advent of 5G technologies has made it possible for transportation systems to be in constant interconnection with other public services. For instance, ambulances can communicate with police and fire departments, which, in turn, are working together with traffic enforcers.
If there is an accident on Road A, AI computerized systems can change traffic lights’ frequency and guide public vehicles and other cars differently. As a result, patients arrive at hospitals faster, and lives are saved.
Soon, your car and mine will also have these features. Aside from avoiding traffic jams, we will be able to work, study, and manage all our devices from the comfort of our driver or passenger seats.
We have seen four trends in the automotive industry. As technology continues to develop, the future of human transportation looks brighter than ever before.