Remember the Nintendo Wii or the PlayStation 3? Chances are they seem like a pretty long while ago now, given how many innovations we’ve benefited from since they first came on the market. Yet these games consoles were at the forefront of the technology of 2006, ten years ago.
The new technology that has come on board since 2006 has influenced far more than the video games we play and nowhere is this more evident than in the cars we drive. Bluetooth phone operation, in-built sat-nav systems and parking sensors are all pretty mainstream now and have had a big influence on the in-car experience.
So, what’s next? If we could fast forward another ten years, what might our vehicles look like?
Look to luxury brands
The first thing to note is that the mainstream car technology of tomorrow already exists in the luxury models of today. The Bluetooth, sat-nav and sensors mentioned above all existed a decade ago, just not in the sort of cars that most road users could afford to buy.
If you take a look in these expensive cars today, you’ll see a blurring of the lines between the car dashboard and smartphone or tablet screen. Top end cars now enjoy the benefits of an ‘infotainment’ system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operating as the sort of platforms we are used to utilising on our smart devices. Mapping now uses real time traffic information and voice control for calls and apps is improving rapidly.
By 2026 it’s likely that such changes will be embedded in models right across the range of vehicles on the roads.
Driverless is key
The other thing you can already see in the pioneering cars of 2016 is the move towards autonomous driving. The technology available at the moment is only able to ‘assist’ the driver with things such as keeping in lane, braking, cruise control or parking.
It’s likely that this will not just spread throughout the motoring spectrum, but also increase in complexity as the decade wears on, tipping the balance from merely ‘assisting’ to actually taking over some of the driving functions we currently perform.
Digital Trends highlights manufacturers such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz believe that fully autonomous driving will be possible by 2026, while others predict that drivers will only be able to hand over to their car when on highways and will remain ‘hands on’ when travelling along local streets.
Change is constant
The race to perfect driverless technology is hotting up. That means change is likely to be particularly rapid over the next decade, as manufacturers vie for their position at the forefront of the autonomous revolution.
For the motorist it’s likely to be hard to keep up. The sort of features that you think are top of the range in your vehicle today are likely to be old hat fairly quickly. For people who like to stay ahead of the game, this means they are more likely to be shopping on the pages of Lease Car than peering through the windows of their local dealership – with this sort of arrangement allowing drivers to trade in their models for a newer set of wheels that possesses the latest innovations.
Rapid change, then, should be expected between now and 2026. Further developments in dashboard technology and in-car connectivity and the elements of autonomous driving will filter through to us all fairly soon. Brace yourself for the facilities of your current car to feel dated in the near future.