The Car of Tomorrow: Under the Hood

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August 16, 2018 | Originally published by Date Line: August 16 on

Autonomous vehicles get all the attention, but in the next several years, the experience of driving will change in many other ways.

“Things are moving really fast,” says Anna Stefanopoulou, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. “Automotive technology hasn’t advanced this quickly since the era of the Model T.”

At the heart of the revolution lie three intersecting trends. The first is Moore’s Law, which has brought escalating improvements in computing power that ultimately will result in full autonomy. In the meantime, the increased computing power is finding expression in features like lane assist and automatic braking systems. Cellular technology, meanwhile, is patching automobiles into the global information network, turning car owners into ride-share customers and immersing drivers in a multifaceted information environment. And third, the rapid evolution of electric and hybrid engine systems is transforming the economics of transportation.

In short, cars are getting smarter, more connected, and more efficient. And while this process will continue for decades to come, you can expect some of the most dramatic advancements over the next few years.

The article continues on to discuss:

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems, 
The shift towards electric power trains.
More efficient internal combustion engines including Mazda”s development of the Skyactiv-X engine that will combine elements of traditional gasoline and diesel engines to achieve a theoretical thermal efficiency of 56 percent, 27 percent better than its current best performer.
The move towards more intuitive and adaptable human-machine interfaces.
Increased use of advanced technology such as networked computing systems, continual software updates, reconfigurable screens, haptic screens, smartphone lockout systems, passenger voice recognition and differentiation and the like.