Automotive Technologies
The start to this new decade has been tumultuous to say the least. From wildfires and dodgy international politics to deadly pandemics and ongoing economic crises, we seem to be seeing everything that can and will go wrong in 2020. As the year comes to a close, however, we should look to the future for things to celebrate and look forward to.

One area with many exciting developments is the automotive industry. In this piece, we’re looking at the 7 most exciting vehicle technologies that are promising to change driving forever.

1. GMC Hummer EV – “Crab Mode”

Anyone who has seen GMC’s teaser material for their upcoming Hummer EV will know that this is no ordinary truck. One of its new drive technologies includes the “Crab Mode” which allows the vehicle to use all-wheel steering to drive in a diagonal line from a standstill. This is a world-first, and will allow the Hummer EV to navigate its ways through some of the trickiest off-road spots, not to mention into some of the trickiest parking spots.

2. Wireless Mobile Charging

Some models of car already have this feature, but it’s typically the top-end trim levels for which many do not opt. Wireless charging is set to become the new norm as the technology becomes easier to produce cheaply and en masse. That’s one less cable you’ll have in your car, adding to a cleaner overall interior aesthetic. The wireless charger is usually found in front of the gear shifter, underneath the central console setup.

This should help resolve disputes between driver and passenger as to which cables get precedence in the limited charging port real estate.

3. Augmented Reality Navigation

This incredible new system was announced this year by Mercedes-Benz for their new 2021 S-Class models. If you thought the driver head-up display (HUD) was a cool sci-fi-style innovation, then you won’t believe what this system can do. Right now it’s sitting only in the very elite top-end machines of the likes of Mercedes-Benz, but soon enough it will surely trickle down to other models.

The AR Navigation system not only puts the key details like speed limit, your current speed etc. right into your eyeline, but also has animated arrows, warning lines that form around the road in front of you to help you along and steer you in the right direction. Rather than just saying “in 100m, turn left,” the arrow will also ‘jump’ down the road to show the exact point and junction into which you’ll be turning.

4. Remote Parking Assistance

Already we are seeing huge advances in the field of car parking technology. In some high-end vehicles, active parking assist allows us to merely get the car lined up, and then work the pedals while the on-board computer and guidance system does the rest. This is already helping countless drivers who suffer from a lack of parking confidence get into the trickier parking spaces that they need.

Hyundai have taken this a step further in their new Sonata vehicles, allowing you to exit the car before the parking happens. The Remove Smart Parking Assist feature can then kick in and the vehicle can park itself up. This is especially useful when you need to get into a tight spot, after which it would normally be hard for you to then exit your vehicle. When you return to your vehicle, you can also have the car back out of the space again, allowing you access.

5. Wireless Smartphone Integration

Another great wireless technology that is emerging is the ability to connect your car to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto without the use of a USB cable connection. This further removes the need for additional wires in your car, especially when you pair it up with the wireless charger. You can connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay, as well as keep your phone charged without using an additional cable.

6. Self-Healing Electric Supercars

Fans of supercars who are also looking forward to the upcoming electric vehicle revolution will be glad to know that your favorite supercar brands are now firmly stepping onto the electric track. Lamborghini have already revealed their concept car the Terzo Millennio, their first all-electric model with some incredible new technologies that we might expect to see on other models in the future. The Porsche Taycan is another notable example.

Let’s say you’re on a business trip, so to make a top impression you rent Lamborghini in Dubai. It just happens to be the Terzo Millennio, but you hit a small snag and an unfortunate mishap leaves a small scratch in the car’s carbon fiber bodywork. It’s only minor but you’re sure it’ll cost you a fortune. In fact, the Terzo Millennio is reported to have a self-healing technology that when detecting minor scratches and flaws, releases an adhesive agent to restore the body back to its original state by using carbon dioxide in the air. It’s a material developed by MIT, and it could absolutely shake up the world of protective coatings in the future.

7. Automated Driving

Arguably one of the ultimate futuristic technologies --- the car that can drive itself. It’s been the dream of many a sci-fi fan for years until now. Let’s go back to our scenario in UAE. You rent Lamborghini in Dubai, you head to your business dinner but you don’t know where you’re going. Navigation is one thing, but having the car drive itself is even better. It can navigate tricky junctions and slip roads, as well as help you park up when you get where you’re going.

Right now, the technology remains controversial. It’s not that it doesn’t work, but it’s not at a point where it can be fully trusted to judge situations rightly. Given more time, however, we can expect this technology to become the new norm. It’s not a question of “if?” but “when?” Tesla is already employing the technology, as is Mercedes-Benz in its new S Class development.

The Future is Here

It would be shortsighted of us to think that any car model year has reached the pinnacle of potential in this exciting technological world. As we prepare to welcome the greater proliferation of these technologies above, we also continue to look forward to more technologies emerging after them to further enhance our driving lives.