What will cars of tomorrow do? Some automakers are well on their way to developing these technologies, which will continue to evolve exponentially over the next few decades.
In the future, you’ll want your car to know who you are for both safety and convenience. Devices such as iris scanners to unlock, lock and start your car are expected to become a standard security feature. Once the car verifies your identity, it might activate your preference settings for temperature, radio and seat adjustments. Other technologies will be able to monitor your heart rate and alert emergency personnel if you’re having a heart attack. There’s even promise of brain-computer interfaces, which link brain activity patterns with commands to control the car and provide infotainment to riders.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are playing a starring role in the predictive capabilities of the auto industry. Innovations include windscreens with superimposed computer-generated visualizations to caution and guide drivers on what to do next.
Robotics gets even more real for mechanical engineers in the field of biomechatronics, which marries mechanic design with device architectures that mimics the body’s musculoskeletal structure. Think sensor, controller and actuator advances in biomedical devices for prosthetics and miniature medical implants, as well as in the military field.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to proliferate, cars will continue to grow connected with each other, pedestrians and infrastructure (e.g. road signs, buildings). Also, more online services will be available to passengers (WiFi, cloud, media). An extended road trip will turn into an opportunity to answer email, watch new releases and video conference with friends.
More flexible interiors
At the touch of a button, you’ll be able to customize your car’s interior color, light privacy and layout. Volvo has even put out a concept car with a multifunctional interior that can morph into an office or bedroom space as your travel needs change.