8 types of automotive technology we’ll see in 2022 and beyond

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automotive technology

It’s been well over a century since Henry Ford launched what has become one of the most iconic automotive companies known to man. In fact, the company will be celebrating its 120th birthday in 2023. We’ve come a long way since then, and automotive technology is continuing to change and evolve. What new technologies can we expect to see in 2022 and beyond?

1. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) may have gained popularity in the gaming industry, but there are a growing number of applications in a variety of industries. Some automotive manufacturers are working to integrate AR into their vehicles. AR programs could, in the future, handle everything from terrain mapping and road safety to parking assistance. They could even become a tool for marketers, though hopefully they won’t be allowed to put AR ads in the driver’s field of view while they’re heading down the highway.

2. Higher Level Autonomy

Right now, self-driving cars top out at level 3 — with zero being no autonomy whatsoever, and level 5 being full autonomy that doesn’t require a human driver at all. Tesla’s autopilot tops out at Level 2 with some level 3 tendencies. These technologies will continue to change and evolve, and 2022 and beyond will likely showcase some cars with level 3 and 4 autonomy.

3. Active Suspension

Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, getting motion sickness in the car sucks. This will become even more problematic as self-driving cars become the norm because people won’t have controlling the car to focus on to keep them from getting sick. Vehicle suspension is constantly evolving, and eventually will become fully active, allowing it to react to road conditions in real-time to ensure a smooth ride.

4. Solid-State Batteries

Electric cars are growing in popularity, but many people are hesitant to invest because of the limitations and cost of the lithium-ion batteries that power them. Add to that the growing shortage of rare earth metals that are necessary to produce these batteries, and we’re going to need a new solution. Solid-state batteries are a new technology that is just beginning to finally reach that balancing point between innovation and affordability. QuantumScape, a tech startup, is planning to have solid-state batteries in production by 2025.

5. Wireless Technology

Right now, the average car has around 30,000 parts and more than 100 million lines of code — and that number is likely to go up as the technology evolves. The smarter these cars get, the more information they’ll need to navigate the world safely. Wireless technology — likely supported by the growing 5G infrastructure — will help support transportation safety. Even if the drivers or passengers aren’t having a conversation, two smart cars on the highway can exchange details about weather patterns, road conditions, traffic movements and more, all in the blink of an eye. The more information these programs have access to, the smarter they become.

6. Perception Sensors

If you’re sitting behind the wheel, sight and hearing are your two most-used senses. Both are necessary to help you navigate the world, though one could argue that sight is the more essential of the two. Cars — even smart and self-driving ones — don’t have that option, so they need fast and accurate ways to perceive the world around them. Right now, they rely on cameras, LiDAR, Radar, and ultrasonic sensors which work well, but have their limitations. We will likely see a great variety of advancements in this technology.

7. Energy-Storing Body Panels

Traditional battery packs for electric vehicles are bulky and take up a lot of space in the undercarriage of the vehicle. While this does lower the center of gravity, it also puts the batteries at risk for damage, as one driver found out in 2019 when their Tesla Model X caught fire because of a damaged battery pack and burned to the ground. Engineers are working on ways to store energy in the body panels of the vehicle rather than just in the undercarriage. These energy-storing panels could also be used for gas and diesel-powered vehicles in the place of a traditional automotive battery.

8. Hydrogen Fuel Cells

As a species, we’ve been exploring hydrogen as a viable fuel source for decades, but its volatility has always made it difficult to work with. In recent years, automakers around the world have started actively exploring hydrogen fuel cell engines as a viable means of propelling their vehicles. These fuel cells burn cleanly, creating only water and oxygen as their exhaust. Many automakers have started looking at smaller engines, such as those found in ATVs.  Even if they don’t make it into regular consumer cars, there is a growing movement to push for hydrogen fuel cells in commercial trucks.

The Automotive Industry is Changing

Technology is shaping and reshaping the way we live and every industry that we’ve created thus far. The automotive industry isn’t the slowest to adopt new technologies, but if the advancements of the last decade are an example, the cars that roll off the assembly lines in 5 or 10 years won’t look much like the ones that we’re so used to today.

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