The future of automobiles is exciting, with self-driving cars being the most anticipated technology. Dozens of manufacturers are in the process of developing their own self-driving cars that will one day eliminate the need for humans to navigate the roads and, therefore, reduce accidents.
However, self-driving cars are still far away. Some experts believe that there are still decades to go before self-driving cars dominate highways around the world. For now, there are other new technologies that automobile makers have developed and exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Here is a sneak peek into what cars will look like in the near future.
Colour-Changing Exterior from BMW
The German automobile manufacturer BMW unveiled the world’s first color-changing car in January. The BMW iX Flow uses electronic ink, similar to the ones used in e-readers, to transform the exterior of the vehicle into different shades of white and grey. This feature can be controlled with an accompanying app.
BMW plans to further enhance the feature. Stella Clarke, a research engineer at the car brand, told reporters that, one day, the color-changing feature will be controlled with a button on the dashboard or hand gestures. It will become easier and more convenient to change the exterior colors of the car.
The feature looks cool, but it also has a function. When it is hot out, the interior of vehicles tends to overheat. Summers in Australia can melt products left inside vehicles, in some cases melting dashboards. Drivers have to blast the air conditioning to pull down the interior temperature to a level that is comfortable.
During extremely hot days, a light-colored vehicle will reflect instead of absorbing heat, preventing the interior from overheating. On colder days, the driver can switch the color back to grey to absorb heat. Doing both can make the vehicle more fuel-efficient.
There is currently no timeline when the BMW iX Flow will go into production, but car owners can get the same effect now. Vinyl car wrapping, using holographic or iridescent material, can shift colors based on light and perspective. It is less technologically advanced, but it is a great alternative for those who want a cool, color-changing car right now.
Car Connectivity from Volvo and Google
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming the new normal. In homes and in offices, every device and appliance can be controlled with the use of smartphones and voice assistants. A car becoming integrated with the home ecosystems is inevitable.
At CES 2022, Google and Volvo announced a partnership that will enable Volvo vehicles to become Google Assistant devices. Through voice, the car owner can instruct Google Assistant to turn their Volvo car on and off, cool it down or warm it up, as well as access information, including the remaining battery level. Thanks to the partnership, Volvo car owners can also download and use the YouTube app.
In addition, while driving, the driver will have the capability to communicate with Google Home Assistant. They can verbally issue commands, such as turn the lights on and off at home or make an online purchase, from the car.
Electric for Long-Haul Journeys
Automobile manufacturers are moving away from fossil fuels and boosting their line of electric vehicles (EVs). In the near future, all vehicles will be powered by electricity.
Mercedes-Benz is preparing for an all-electric future. At CES 2022, it unveiled Vision EQXX, a luxury vehicle developed that prioritises efficiency. The German automobile manufacturer claims that the Vision EQXX can run more than 1,000 kilometers (621.3 miles) on a single battery charge. That is three times the range of an average electric car.
Mercedes-Benz also claims that the vehicle can slice through the air efficiently with its exterior silhouette, a feature that will further help the long-range capacity of its battery. For the tires, the company partnered with Bridgestone to create a 20-inch tire that contributes to the vehicle’s efficiency. Overall, the company says that Vision EQXX has a drag coefficient of 0.17.
Right now, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is still a concept. The company promises that, in the near future, it will attempt a road trip across Europe to prove how far the vehicle can go on a single charge. Vision EQXX might go on sale by 2024.
The automobile market is brimming with new innovations that will improve the driving experience for consumers. Aside from autonomous features, more new technologies are being developed and introduced. In the future, you might see some of these features in your own vehicle.