At the Detroit auto show last year, we got an insight into what the cars of the future might look like. We saw Mercedes-Benz show off its first fully autonomous technology, the Fo15 Luxury and we were treated to other concepts from Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet that were all sporting some pretty advanced features.
To many, it was clear that the pace of change in technology in the auto sector is without precedent. For an industry that is used to evolution, what we see right now is truly profound. But is this a flash in the pan? Will the industry return to its historical trajectory of gradual development? Or will technology continue to accelerate and could we end up with something radically different by the year 2020?
According to Karl Brauer writing in Forbes, we certainly could. Here’s what he thinks cars will look like in 2020.
Biometric Vehicle Access
In recent years, we’ve watching the transition from keys to keyless entry. It’s an evolution that’s been going on for more than 20 years and is nearing completion. But the next change in vehicle entry could happen a lot more quickly than that. Biometric identification could do away with keyfobs altogether, and our cars could instead recognize us from across the street and open up as we approach.
To suggest such a technology is not all that far-fetched. After all, many smartphones already have things like fingerprint scanners, and major manufacturers, like Samsung, are suggesting that phones in the future could unlock just by scanning your eyes or using machine learning to recognize your face. Given that cars are going autonomous, they could use their onboard cameras to do the same.
Driver Override Systems
As David & Philpot, P.L. point out, millions of Americans get hurt on the roads every year. So it’s no wonder that car companies are looking for new ways to save lives. One way they want to do this is to have driver override systems. Often, when a driver gets into a vehicle drunk, they lose the ability to react to dangerous situations. Before they have even realized they’re in trouble, it’s too late, and their cars plow into a tree or off the side of a bridge. Brauer suggests, therefore, that by 2020, cars will apply brakes even when the driver’s foot is pedal to the metal. According to experts, sensors will decide on what decisions a car will make, not the driver themselves and reduce crashes.
More Vehicle Tracking
One of the biggest issues with modern technology is the fact that it can track everywhere you go and everything you do. The same will be true of cars in the future, as they take on more and more technology. By 2020, it is expected that insurance companies will charge reduced premiums to people with the best driving behavior, according to their tracking data. Brauer says that he hopes the technology will remain voluntary, to prevent the formation of a giant Big Brother surveillance state, but he’s not optimistic. He thinks that by 2020, new models will require driver tracking.