01 Apr 2019

What are the new car features we will see in the coming years?

The next innovations in motoring
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The modern car can play your spotify list, brake or change lanes when you miss a hazard and even park themselves. But what will be the next innovations in motoring?

We have come a long way since the days of column shift cars where air-conditioning meant winding the windows down all the way.

In recent years, we have seen a range of innovations rolled out across mainstream vehicles including parking sensors and cameras, automatic acceleration and braking, automatic lane changing, connected media centres and a whole lot more.

With technology advancing at a rapid pace, The Motor Report takes a look at some of the innovations that could become a reality in the coming years.

Hydrogen fuel

The concept of electric cars has gained traction again in recent years (think Tesla), but in countries like Australia it is hard to see them becoming mainstream.

Ancient electricity architecture and sprawling distances between cities means we are unlikely to see plug-in points dotted across the countryside in the near future.

Another clean, green technology may just take hold, though.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have been discussed for decades, with the promise of nothing but water and oxygen as emissions

This powerful fuel could be seen at service stations in Australia in the coming years, with all of Australia’s petroleum producers – Viva Energy, Shell, BP and Caltex – partnering with Hydrogen Mobility Australia which will plot the rollout of Hydrogen fuel.

David Hart is a sustainable energy consultant at E4Tech and former head of fuel cells at Imperial College and he believes there is a real chance of FCEV technology becoming mainstream sooner rather than later.

“If the hydrogen infrastructure business model works and the car manufacturers become serious, there could be a significant ramp-up after 2020,” he said.

“You could be looking at millions to tens of millions of cars by 2040.”

The self-driving car

This is where many of the major automobile manufacturers are tipping their valuable R&D dollars.

Driverless functionality is scaled across five levels, with level one including many of the autonomous driver assistance features that we enjoy today. Level five is the fully driverless car.

Level five has yet to be reached, but Honda, Renault, BMW, and Toyota are aiming at 2020 to unveil this technology and other manufacturers will be hot on their heels.

While this technology would add comfort and convenience to the average commute, it will be an absolute game-changer for the haulage and logistics industry as trucking becomes automated.

Interior features designed for wellness

The most recent wave of interior innovations has centred around safety and connectivity, the future of car interiors will centre around driver and passenger wellness.

This means smarter climate control features that use sensors to adjust individual areas of the vehicle as required.

Seats will feature heating, cool and massage functions, ambient lighting will become a thing again and visual displays will expand to cover the entire front dashboard and include VR video games for the kids (and young at heart) in the back.

The electric motorcycle

While Tesla has been the leading pioneer of electric cars and many other companies like Toyota have gained success with hybrid vehicles, the humble motorbike still drinks thirstily from the petrol bowser.

That could be set to change, with Harley Davidson preparing to release the LiveWire which has a fully electric motor.

It has a lithium-ion battery pack with a range of almost 180km and swaps the old analogue displays for a complete digital, connected array.

The LiveWire was named the best transportation-related product at 2019 International CES in Las Vegas this year, a rare accomplishment for a company not typically known for breaking down the walls of innovation in the tech industry.

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