Automobiles are quickly becoming rolling computers and entertainment centers. It might not be long until you can reserve an autonomous vehicle to show up at your door and bring you to your destination at the cost of simply watching commercials on in-vehicle screens. Such technology might be less than a decade away. One must wonder how the rise of autonomous vehicles will affect the demand for defensive driving courses. Let’s look at some of the top auto trends in 2017.
It is becoming increasingly easier to update smartphones and computers through the cloud. Though this is not yet possible with software in automobiles, auto industry experts are adamant that car models that debut in 2017 will feature dashboard systems that can be updated through the cloud. These systems will even feature profiles of the person operating the vehicle. It is certainly possible that cars will offer drivers with personalized preferences and even individualized apps by the end of the year. These offerings will differ based on the unique key fob in the vehicle’s ignition.
The Rise of Cars as a Service
Most people think of Lyft and Uber when the phrase “cars as a service” is mentioned. Automakers are taking advantage of this trend as well. For example, Ford shelled out $65 million to acquire San Francisco-based Chariot that empowers users to pay for rides for work commutes. Similar services are being launched by Cadillac and GM. These car makers will soon let users pay to access their breadth of car models on a temporary basis. This is quite advantageous to what New York Yankees drive and the typical person who does not want to pay for the cost of buying and maintaining a vehicle yet balks at the notion of relying on public transportation to get around town. Look for on-demand mobility services to pop up toward the end of the year.
Electric Vehicles are Nearly Ubiquitous
Head on out to any mid-size city and you will likely spot at least one electric vehicle. These vehicles are no longer novelties. Electric vehicles will spill over that mainstream tipping point in 2017. The ’17 Detroit Auto Show’s North American Car of the Year is the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It is the first all-electric car to win the prestigious award. The specs of electric vehicles will continue to improve in 2017 and beyond. Look for some electric vehicles that debut in 2017 to provide a driving range upwards of 400 miles.
The Continued Emergence of Semi-Autonomous Automobiles
This year could be the one in which semi-autonomous vehicles hit their stride. Semi-autonomous automotive features like parking assist and collision assist are found on the majority of 2017 models. Expect even more semi-autonomous features to be added to this year’s models. As an example, Tesla will soon release new models with all sorts of new autopilot features. BMW, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan are also adding to their semi-autonomous vehicle features. Google-inspired Waymo recently announced it will test a new group of autonomous vehicles. Look for more autonomous vehicles to hit the streets in 2017 and beyond.
Big Data in Vehicles
This could be the year that your vehicle and your smartphone become somewhat indistinguishable. Though your car might not be able to take a selfie in 2017, it is certainly collecting your data. The newest models are gathering all sorts of data about drivers. Toyota, Ford and other automakers have joined forces to equip their vehicles with a similar infotainment system to connect Google Android and Apple iOS. This will make it easier to integrate vehicles with additional electronic devices. Ford is making use of Amazon’s Echo and Alexa for vehicle commands and data collection efforts. The spread of big data to automobiles proves challenging in the context of personal privacy yet it will also help automakers customize new and improved vehicle technologies to satisfy driver demands.