automotive industry

Automotive Technologies: Driving the World Swiftly

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The automotive industry is the core of modern industrial society. The industry is critically important to the significant economies around the world. In the United States, for instance, about 5 percent of all workers are employed directly by the auto industry. Over the years, the technological advancements in the auto industry have potentially influenced the cars that are driven as well as the health of the economy.

The need for faster and safer transportation has resulted in extensive research and frequent innovations in automotive technology. The car manufacturers are looking to address the customer requirements as well as environmental balance through their new features. The change is reflected through the flourishing market of electric vehicles. The global electric vehicle market size is projected to reach $567,299.8 million by 2025.  Along with that, several new automotive technologies have rejuvenated the auto industry.

Furthermore, some new technologies are expected to take the automotive industry by storm. Automation will be at its peak in the upcoming years. Some of the already existing and upcoming automotive technologies are mentioned below.

Adaptive Cruise Control: Way to a Soothing Ride

Regular traveling can sometimes be very tiring and stressful. In this case, advanced driver assist systems like Adaptive Cruise Control can help to reduce the stress up to some level. It is most helpful in highway traffic as the need to continually applying brakes is eliminated. Simulations have shown that when a quarter of cars had ACC, the travel times fell by 37.5%, and the traffic delays were reduced by 20%.  Adaptive cruise control can match the speed of two succeeding cars by using an array of sensors built in the car. The information from onboard sensors such as radar or laser sensor allows the vehicle to brake when it detects the car is approaching another vehicle ahead.

In this way, it helps cars in maintaining a safe distance from the vehicles ahead. Furthermore, some advanced cruise control systems can also allow a car to bring about a complete halt and then automatically resume, which makes driving in traffic more convenient. Handing over some amount of control to the car might be uneasy at the start, but once used, it is an effortless, and convenient feature.

Multi-Angle Cameras:  Capturing the Perfect angle

A few years ago, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made it mandatory for all automobiles sold in the United States built beginning in May 2018 to include backup cameras. The incidents of low-speed crashes that most frequently occur during parking are currently getting more frequent. On average, more than 50000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually. A multi-angle camera system might be more than useful to sort out the problem. Especially for the bulky built SUVs, this feature is invaluable. In this technology, multiple cameras are placed on every side of the car, and with smart computing power, all the views provided by these cameras can be seen directly on the car’s display.

It is mostly useful in parallel parking scenarios as it displays the full top-down view of the surroundings. With advancements in technology, these systems are getting cheaper and easily available in moderately-priced cars as well. However, they are much more useful for SUVs.

Adaptive Headlights: Flexibility meets technology

This is an active safety feature designed to make driving at night or low-light driving much safe and secure. This feature enhances the driver’s visibility around curves and over hills while driving. The standard headlights continue to shine straight ahead even when the vehicle is taking a turn, which catches the driver blind for a few seconds. IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) estimates that adaptive headlights could have helped in 143,000 crashes in the United States in 2008, including 31000 that resulted in injury and 2553 that were fatal. This problem is identified and countered by adaptive headlights, which turn their beams according to the steering input so that the actual path of the vehicle is lit up.

Adaptive headlights are made up of several subcomponents, such as wheel speed sensors, steering input sensors, and yaw sensors. These subcomponents are monitored and controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). This automotive technology is relatively new, so enough data is not available to precisely determine its effectiveness. However, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has said that the vehicles with adaptive headlights are less prone to crashes or accidents.

Lane Departure Warning: Ensuring Security through Automation

Due to small reasons like having a quick glance at stereo to change the channel, sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system and eating while driving, distracted driving happens. Sometimes, just a few seconds of lack of concentration are enough to cause a significant accident. According to official statistics, 33 percent of all crashes in the United States happen when vehicles change lanes. The lane departure warning system identifies if a car has drifted across a marked lane line by using cameras. Furthermore, it gives a visual or audible notification (or even a vibration through seat or steering wheel) that the car has moved too far outside its lane.

However, this system does not work if the road has no markings and whenthe markings are faded and are not visible clearly.  Some more additions to this technology, such as ‘Lane Keeping Assist’ can help in automatically steering back to a proper lane, which can be lifesaving if the car is heading into opposite traffic.

Self-Driving Cars: Automation at its Peak

This is perhaps one of the most anticipated and talked about automotive technologies for the future. A self-driving car is capable of sensing the environment and moving safely with very little or no human input. A variety of sensors such as radar, lidar, sonar, GPS, odometer are combined in the self-driving cars to perceive their surroundings. The car identifies appropriate navigation paths as well as obstacles and relevant signage by using the sensory information interpreted by advanced control systems.

Though the idea of a self-driving car is not a new one, a fully autonomous self-driving car is still out of reach except in special trial programs. The car has to use miles of driving data to form expectations about how other objects might move. The car also have to train based on simulation data as it is hard to get enough training data on the road. Despite not fully developed yet, this technology isn’t unrealistic and hence it is one of the technologies to look forward in the future. Automation can also be seen having an impact on platforms like Tire Dealer Guru.

AR Dashboards: Tethering the Real and Virtual World

This is a system that will enable cars to identify external objects in front of the driver and display information about them on a windshield. If a car is approaching a vehicle too quickly, a red box may appear on that vehicle, and arrows will appear showing how to maneuver the car into the next lane before it collides with the vehicle.

Currently, cars are equipped with technologies such as GPS and in-car-displays, but this system in the future might turn out to be a revolution in automotive technology. Some companies like BMW have already introduced a windshield display in some of its vehicles, which displays basic information. However, they are looking to develop augmented reality dashboards that will be able to identify objects in front of a vehicle and tell the driver how far he is away from the object. This concept might not be practically possible yet, but it promises to be one of the most exciting future prospects of automotive technologies.

 V2V Communication: Enhancing Safety through Communication

V2V Communication is another interesting technology that might be seen in the future. This technology uses wireless signals to send information between cars about their speed, direction, and location. This information is then communicated to the cars around it to provide information on keeping vehicles at a safe distance from each other.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration carried out a study in 2010, which says that V2V has the potential to reduce 79 percent of target vehicle crashes on the road. Some automotive manufacturers like Ford are testing this technology to reduce the number of accidents on the road. Along with V2V communication, some techniques like Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communication (V2I) are also under testing. These technologies could change the way of driving and automatically reduce the number of accidents as well.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle: Fuelling the ‘Green’ Change

Due to high oil prices, depleting oil sources, and environmental concerns, many governments and vehicle manufacturers around the world have given high priority to the development of cleaner alternative fuels and advanced power systems for vehicles. This extensive research regarding alternative fuels has led to the invention of alternative fuel vehicles.

An alternative fuel vehicle is a motor vehicle that runs on a fuel other than traditional petroleum fuels. The most popular alternative fuel vehicle is an electric car. Extensive research has been done in the market about the use of electricity as fuel resulting in the development of several electric car brands all over the globe. But apart from electricity, some gases like Ethanol, Hydrogen, and Propane are also being used as a fuel to run vehicles. The introduction of these vehicles is a probable ploy for reducing the increasing pollution and developing a more eco-friendly approach in future automotive technologies.

Concluding, the rigorous competition between companies has resulted in the invention of all these technologies. These technologies are meant to minimize the human efforts and to make transportation smoother and safer. Ultimately, it will become  a blessing for the current as well as upcoming generation.

Also Read, Top 5 Electric Vehicle Charging Networks in the US



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