Tesla is at the forefront of the fuel-efficiency movement, releasing a slew of electric and hybrid vehicles that can take you for hundreds of miles with a single charge. In 2016, more than 2 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide and this figure is expected to rise in the near future as more automotive manufacturers implement electric vehicle technology to their fold. Companies such as VW and General Motors have recently unveiled electric cars to their fleet, while Volvo says it will launch a fully electric car every year, as it seeks to make all-electric cars 50 percent of global sales by 2025, with the rest hybrids. Electric vehicles are also becoming more affordable, with companies such as Hyundai, Kia and Toyota unveiling hybrid cars under the $30,000 mark, suggesting that investing in fuel efficiency may soon be widely adopted around the globe. In the U.S., 20% to 25% of all vehicle sales are expected to be electric by 2030, while this figure is expected to reach up to 35% in China.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have an important role in the future of the automotive industry as predictive capabilities are becoming more prevalent in cars, personalizing the driving experience. More manufacturers are applying algorithms that use data to automate the process of setting up a vehicle, including a car’s infotainment system and its application preferences. Vehicles are becoming IoT devices which can connect to smartphones and take voice commands, changing the user interface. Predictive vehicle technology can also be used in the form of sensors within a car that informs the owner whether or not the vehicle needs service from a mechanic. Depending on your car’s mileage and condition, the technology will be able to estimate its performance, set up appointments in real time and inform users of any safety hazards linked with a malfunctioning car due to company recalls.
Much has been made of autonomous driving technology, and while some companies have been testing their self-driving functionalities on open roads, we’re still quite a ways away from widely adopting these cars. A number of cars already have semi-autonomous capabilities in the form of driver-assisted technologies. These include automatic-braking sensors, motorway lane sensors, mapping technology that monitors blind spots, cameras in the back and front of a car, adaptive cruise control and self-parking capabilities. Google recently revealed the self-driving pod Waymo, while Local Motors released a fully-autonomous vehicle as well. Ford hopes to have a self-driving vehicle on the roads by 2021.
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