Have you noticed, when it comes to autonomous cars, how everything has gone a bit quiet? All the hype about this new way of motoring over the last few years has backed off; at least that's how it seems. Obviously, behind the scenes, work to perfect this technology proceeds as usual but it might just be that a bit of realism has been introduced. The fact is, the number of variables when it comes to roads and driving are beyond counting and plainly it is going to take a very long time for our cars to become the masters of their environment and our destinations.
In the meantime, other automotive science, including some from the autonomous experiment, continues to filter down into the motors we buy today. Most of it is good, especially when it comes to safety but the dashboard distractions and the like are still there. Just how big a screen do we need in our cars? Yet it is not all about autonomy; there's plenty more happening in the car industry so here's a taster of what we can expect:
New Kids On The Block
One very interesting development that will please the individualist who doesn't care for the ever-growing automotive conglomerates and mergers we are seeing. It looks very much like we will see some new names appearing, just as we did with Tesla. Rivian is one such, backed up by the might of Amazon (although a car probably won't fit in an Amazon Locker) and Fisker is also making a comeback with a new EV. This is where new technology helps; it's not just about oily engineering any more. The science of electric motors is much less complex than the internal combustion engines, for example, and drivers can also expect to see a greater use of carbon fibre in cars routinely, for lightness.
Motor manufacturers are working hard to meet the draconian standards set by politicians and the like towards a greener future. We can certainly expect a growth of mild hybrid programmes as well as new plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars. Motorists can expect to be bombarded by an increasing number of EVs during 2020. Vehicles like the crossover Tesla Model Y and an electric Mini sharing science with the popular BMW i3. Ford and the various German brands will also be pushing hard to promote whole new ranges of vehicles with part or fully electric drive trains.
Behind The Dashboard
The development of cars that can look after themselves has produced a wide variety of useful technology (e.g. the use of RADAR and LiDar to help prevent shunts) has required significant investment in the relevant digital platforms within which the internal electronics function. Over-The-Air software updates are a case in point. Those not so keen on the idea of autonomous cars and the relinquishing of the steering wheel will have to accept in future Level 3 conditional automation. This level of autonomy as discussed here allows the driver to disengage from certain safety functions like braking if particular conditions are present as the car monitors its immediate environment. This isn't just high end stuff either, mainstream Hyundai we hear, will introduce some degree of level 3 automation within a couple of years.
Like It Or Not
So, like it or not, technology remains on the march. It's not such a big deal though is it? Most of the excellent cars we offer here at eCars247 have some level of automation already; after all, motorists were happy enough to accept ABS braking all those years ago. The good news is that, at least for now, we can continue to enjoy our driving just as we like it and that's why we recommend you have a browse of our listings and enjoy a new car for 2020.