“Out with the old and in with the new” is a statement that describes the mindset of a consumer. The fulfilment of having what’s dated or “trending” —whether out of convenience, mere desire, or necessity—can be evident when it comes to gadgets or other products. Yet can this be said with the vehicle market as well?
Ever since the start of the 20th century, the automotive industry has been one of the most receptive industries to emerging technology, as it continues to redefine the way cars are manufactured, operated, and maintained. And as computers have become more central to the mass production of automobiles, the capacity for driver-vehicle interactivity has increased enormously.
Today, every car produced has some kind of onboard computer that controls a wide range of functions.
As for vehicle Power Units, internal combustion engines are starting to be significantly displaced by hybrid, fully electric, or solar energy systems as the driving force of the future.
In addition, innovations in the industry unceasingly serve as a primary catalyst for more ensured safety on the road—both as a passenger and as a driver—with continuous advancements going a long way ever since the invention of the Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS), Traction Control, and the Airbags – to name a few.
This is not to mention the added “trinkets” in your car that add fascination to the whole driving experience.
Yet with the large variety of vehicle brands and models in the market, why is technology or innovation used as one of the major selling points in the industry? What’s so enticing with having a multi-functional touchscreen infotainment system over a conventional radio and aircon setup, or having a built-in wireless phone charger, automatic doors, or 360-degree lookout cameras? (Well, let’s be honest, they’re cool).
Simple. Just like with our smartphones, it’s our desire and fixation to have “what’s new and more”.
Whether it be because of added features, enhanced aesthetics, or increased convenience, to highlight something “new” when marketing goods—more often than not —works.
Now, determining whether “what’s new and more” is actually ”what’s good”, well that’s a story for another day.
Although purchasing a vehicle based on certain features and technologies still remains to be a varying preference from consumer to consumer, we can never disregard its significant contribution to the industry.
Taking a look at it from a point of purpose, technology is what aids our vehicles to travel from point A to point B, with added safety and efficiency.
Furthermore, we reap the benefits of innovation not just by being able to conveniently monitor our vehicle’s “vital signs” in real time, while behind the wheel, or by being ensured that we reach our destinations in one good piece regardless of route or condition.
We also reap the benefits of automotive technology through holistically enjoying each trip with comfort, spectacle, and interactivity.
To put things short, technology is what makes or breaks our whole driving experience.
With numerous tech trends and driving aids steadily being added to each newly manufactured automobile, where does this ultimately lead to?
A lot of us would answer “full autonomy”, as vehicles are gradually developing towards further redefining the driving experience with the occupant handing partial to significant control over to an integrated navigation system—or an in-car computer.
These days, vehicle models equipped with self-parking systems are now a purchase away.
In addition, advancements such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (wherein your vehicle shall apply brake pressure on your behalf when it detects an oncoming obstacle, albeit approaching it too fast or without any awareness to slow down) and Lane Departure Mitigation systems are now present in more executive models.
Given this, we could only be eager to find out the next “what’s new” as manufacturers are in the process of developing self-driving cars on an even larger scale. It stands to reason that the less time drivers spend ‘driving,’ the more time users will want to interact with onboard technology.
However, if we would want to fully answer the question mentioned two paragraphs back, the more appropriate answer would probably be “let’s just wait and see”, as endless ideas and possibilities definitely lead to endless innovation. Years ago, only a handful would have predicted the technology we have today. So who’s to say what’s ultimately coming our way?
In a world, where technology continues to transcend, so should the complete driving experience.