The automotive industry has made significant strides in the fields of sustainability, autonomy and engineering over the past few years. So where is it headed? Here’s a look at what you should expect in the years to come.
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Fuel efficiency doesn’t only save you money, it also cuts down on the carbon footprint you make, which is a detriment to the environment. Car manufacturers and accessories companies have cut down on carbon emissions with hybrid models and sustainable parts. Ford uses renewable materials that the company estimates saves 300,000 pounds of petroleum products every year. Bridgestone has dedicated a division of the company to a 100 percent sustainable-materials tire. Not only has Bridgestone targeted 2020 as finish line for a completely renewable materials tire, they also have a low-rolling resistance tire that improves fuel efficiency.
Tesla Motors finally put electric cars on the map. Not only did they produce a car people want to drive, but they also kept the cost down enough to make them affordable. While the first Tesla still has a relatively high price point, the Tesla 3, which was revealed on March 31, has a starting price point of $35,000. The demand for this vehicle was estimated at 120,000 unit orders, but within the first 36 hours of it’s release, 253,000 orders had come in — nearly 18 months before the first car will hit the road.
Tesla isn’t the only automotive company that has plans for economy-priced electric cars. The Chevy Bolt is an active competitor for the Tesla with a price point of $37,000 and a $7,500 rebate on certain models. While Tesla hit the market with a high-tech angle, the Chevy Bolt fills a more economic, basic and affordable electric car option.
While electric cars will gain traction and market share in the future, autonomous cars are another technology that will be more prevalent. Many companies, like Lexus, Cadillac and Toyota, have utilized this technology, which utilizes cameras and radar,, for cars that can parallel park themselves. This technology is also used in Google’s fully autonomous car.
While Google’s driverless cars won’t be ready until 2020, they’re already on many roads in many states, though the majority of states in the union don’t allow them quite yet, and more don’t even have legislature addressing autonomous cars. However, this will change in the future, as Google has pushed the autonomous car for years and in February the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decided the software that pilots these cars is equal to a human driver. This is a landmark decision for Google on its quest for proven legitimacy of this invention. However, this doesn’t let Google or its robot car off the hook. The NHTSA has designated that cars must have a parking break independent of the foot break. However, Google autonomous car doesn’t have pedals, or hand breaks at all. This may be an obstacle for now, but the driverless car will likely be more accepted in the future.