Vehicle Technology in 2017 and Beyond

Car technology has come a long way from the days of auto-lock and MP3-compatible stereo systems. Much of it, now, seems related to the Internet of Things, connecting drivers to the rest of their world via their phones. Whether it’s smart navigation, voice-activated radio and social media, or lane-changing technology, the latest automotive technology aims to make driving as safe, connected, and user-friendly as possible.

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According to Consumer Reports, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, there was a lot of buzz around not only autonomous driving, which we’ve been hearing about for a few years now, but also “vehicle-to-vehicle” and “vehicle-to-infrastructure” communication systems which allow vehicles to communicate with each other or with information in the cloud in order to maximize their safety levels, while on the road. For example, a V-to-V communication system might allow cars to sense each other through dense fog, at night, while a V-to-I system might alert a vehicle about an upcoming broken traffic light.  

Technology is also working to make vehicles we don’t traditionally associate with sustainability more sustainable. Case in point: the Ford EcoBoost engine, which is supposed to be not only more efficient but more powerful; we don’t usually associate Mustangs and F-150 trucks with sustainability, but Ford claims that their new Sustainable Technologies and Alternative Fuels Plan uses a variety of approaches to improve the fuel economy of their vehicles. Specifically, the EcoBoost engine “uses turbocharging and direct fuel injection to deliver significant fuel-efficiency gains and reduced CO2 emissions in gasoline-powered vehicles.” Moreover, the 2016 Ford F-150 won Green Car Journal’s 2016 Green Truck of the Year title—pretty impressive!

Tech Times profiles Ford as contributing, also, to the up-and-coming IoT culture with its new Sync 3, which connects drivers’ smartphones to the in-car navigation system. However, one ongoing concern with many IoT devices is the danger of being susceptible to cyber security hacks—such as with the recent compromise of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Ford said in a statement to Tech Times that, “Ford has long been aware of security threats to connected vehicles and takes cybersecurity very seriously by consistently working to mitigate the risk.”

According to Maryville University, technology research firm Gartner found that the global population used approximately 6.4 billion connected devices in 2016, which represents a 30 percent increase from 2015. Because of this newly widespread use of connected devices, the Federal Trade Commission has pointed out the need for manufacturers to create a high-security infrastructure for devices, but also that users must find ways to protect their data via encryption and passwords. You might imagine, then, the critical importance of safeguarding the computers of self-driving cars, for example, as we move toward more and more autonomous driving features.

What kind of technology are you most interested in, when it comes to your dream vehicle of the future? Does your car already come equipped with a few autonomous driving features or fuel efficient technology? Share your experience or your ideal car of the future in the comments section, below!


Image courtesy of JCT600. Used with permission.

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