Auto Tech Predictions for 2020

The automotive industry has reached several significant milestones in recent years. Instead of cars that compete with each other in terms of horsepower, fuel economy, and design, manufacturers are reconfiguring their approach to cars from modes of transportation to connected mobile platforms. While fully autonomous cars still lack viable tech support and infrastructure, as well as unified legal coverage, it’s expected that within a couple of years, vehicles will be able to drive with a much greater level of autonomy and sustainability.

AI-Based Control Systems
According to different sources, today we’re either in the middle of the journey or at the final stage of developing unmanned vehicles, still, no one dare say that the end is close. Two years ago, Waymo LLC announced a reduction in the price of LIDAR – an essential component of unmanned vehicles by 90%. This was good news for the car industry, as this high-precision thermal laser system used to be more expensive than the car itself. And despite the hilarious, yet powerful, real-world ad of a drunk Tesla driver sleeping behind the wheel while the autopilot is seamlessly driving him around the city, the independent American company Consumer Reports shows that the Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-auto driving system turns more advanced in the functional sense than the Tesla autopilot.

Photo attribution: Jaguar MENA licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Advent of V2X Systems
The latest generation of intelligent transport systems includes V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) systems, enabling the exchange of information between vehicles and roadside and urban infrastructure such as traffic lights, signage, curbs, etc., as well as between vehicles themselves. Relying on radio waves, the system reacts instantaneously, much quicker than when pioneering systems relied on GPS or GSM network. Connected to the board computer, these V2V tools can inform other vehicles about events in your car, such as the activation of the ABS, for example warning the driver behind you that they’re approaching the place where your car’s anti-lock braking initialized. Relying on the same type of road data exchange, your vehicle can receive a message about newly established speed limits or altered road conditions.

Photo attribution: Jaguar MENA licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Cars Specially Designed for Sharing
One of the most significant vehicle tech trends these days are features designed especially for car sharing. This increasingly popular practice is now made simpler with an addition of a special telematics device that memorizes the driving habits of each next user, which in turn provides great convenience for insurance agents. With an insurance concept based on driving indicators recorded by this device, the accuracy of both legal conclusions and insurance claims will increase, helping drivers receive maximum justice and fair claims. For example, if you’re a cautious driver who respects all traffic rules, your good driving record will bring you high insurance dividends. As autonomous vehicle concepts gain momentum, comprehensive car insurance is expected to be increasingly important in the years ahead, as these packages include everything from intentional damage to coverage for damage caused to a third party property. Telematics devices can also regularly record the time, duration, and routes of your drives, as well as periods of acceleration and braking, so the future insurance format might include additional parameters that traditional insurance of today can’t take into account.

Internet of Things (IoT)
The cars are becoming a bigger version of the smartphone. With a huge amount of information to be captured, analyzed, and reacted upon, IoT technology is making unprecedented breakthroughs in the vehicle and device connectivity. Apart from autonomous driving, IoT data is critical for many other industry developments, from predictive maintenance to data monetization. With an in-vehicle personal assistant like Siri or Alexa, drivers are now able to receive updates from other vehicle and the manufacturer, but also use new infotainment apps that make the driving experience safer and more efficient. With car-to-home automation in place, you can activate the “home” icon on your dashboard touch screen and turn the home lights up, regulate the heating or AC, and even open the IoT-connected garage door for you.

Increased Use of Carbon Fiber
While OEMs have done their share in designing lighter weight replacement parts for some time, automakers are now focusing on carbon fiber, not only for exterior parts like hoods and lift gates, but also for complete inner-body frames. The upcoming Polestar 1 hybrid and Polestar 2 EV by Volvo both feature carbon fiber inner structure for reduced weight and improved rigidity. While the aluminum still holds the line, carbon fiber even finds its way into the full-size truck market, with GM including composites in the new bed assemblies for its Silverado/Sierra platform. It’s not difficult to justify the choice of carbon fiber as a material for performance wheels on new Mustang GT350R and Shelby GT500 – it offers additional weight reduction and enhanced rigidity for a superb driving experience.

With technology at the core of all these automotive trends, the design and features of cars have changed dramatically over the past several years, but thanks to the advanced AI-systems, Big Data, IoT and revolutionary materials, 2020 promises to make these advances more available to the wider pool of drivers.

Lucas Bergman is a real estate agent and renewable energy consultant with many hobbies and passions, but above all, he enjoys the most spending time with his wife – Mara. He also likes Lord of the Rings. He, actually, very much likes Lord of the Rings. He is a regular contributor at

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