• Automotive Industry | Driving Forward with Innovation

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    The automotive industry has become fiercely competitive

    Many of the manufacturers are stepping up to the plate with the latest and greatest technology.  Fuel efficiency, design, and handling are just some of the factors that consumers research when choosing their next vehicle.  But with a consumer market that is obsessed with technology, car manufactures have stepped up their game to offer the latest in automotive innovation.  Technology has improved the driving experience on many levels.  Navigation, audio visual advances, and safety features have become a priority in the auto industry and buyers are looking for a vehicle that exceeds their expectations.  So what can we expect to see in the near future? 

    High definition recording technology has become a desirable feature on performance vehicles for drivers who like to push their car to the limit on and off the track.  Previously, these devices could be purchased as aftermarket accessories, and mounted on the vehicle similar to a GPS.  At the Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas in January, Chevrolet announced that the 2015 Corvette Stingray would come with a fully integrated Performance Data Recorder.  This technology gives drivers the ability to record and share drive videos.  Performance drivers will be able to use to the footage to analyse their driving and improve lap times.  An SD card slot in the glove box will allow drivers to remove the recordings and transfer them to a computer or data storage, and a 32-GB card will have the ability to store up to 800 minutes of footage.  The 2015 Corvette Stingray will also be equipped with an eight-inch color touch screen, so the driver can watch their footage when in the vehicle, as long as the vehicle is not in motion. 

    Over three million cars already have the ability to assist drivers with most people’s least favorite maneuver – parking.  This technology uses sensors to detect obstacles close to the car, and self-steers the car, while the driver maintains control of the gas and break.  French app designer Valeo, has taken parking technology to the next level by developing automated valet parking.  This technology allows drivers to guide their car into a parking lot, and let the vehicle do the rest.  This app helps the vehicle detect the first available parking space, and maneuver its way into it, all without anyone actually being in the car.  Drivers activate the Valeo app with their smart phone, and can use it to pull the vehicle out when it’s time to go. 

    Many mobile app developers have shifted their attention to the automotive industry to find ways to help drivers and innovate the way that people travel.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has just released an iOS based app that helps drivers locate alternative fuel sources such as electric charging stations, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen and propane stations.  This will allow people who drive these new and innovative vehicles to leave town without having to familiarize themselves with the stations that their car requires ahead of time.  This app is essential in giving consumers some additional confidence if they are considering investing in a vehicle with an alternative fuel source.

    Safety features rank high on most car buyer’s list of requirements.  Every year, automakers find ways to keep drivers safer, and protect them from potential accidents.  Infiniti and Mercedes Benz are innovative leaders in the implementation of additional safety features.  They have developed auto lane-keeping technology that uses sensors to keep an eye on the road and automatically correct the steering if the car veers to far from one side or the other.  The new Acura RLX has an automatic break hold system that allows the driver to keep the breaks engaged for up to ten minutes without keeping their foot on the peddle.  This is designed to be used at a railway crossing or if the car is stuck in traffic.  Drivers who live in major cities always have to be extra cautious and keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.

    Sharing a car among multiple family members?  The 2014 Infiniti Q50 luxury sedan is perfect for sharing, without worrying about re-adjusting the seat and mirrors each time another driver gets in the car.   Up to four drivers get their own programmable keyfob that remembers the driver’s personal preferences.  The seat adjustment, mirror positions, climate control, radio station pre-sets and stored navigation locations are all customized for each driver.  Once the driver puts their key into the ignition, the car adjust its settings accordingly. 

    Mobile and Bluetooth technology have made cars smarter.  Consumers are always looking for the automotive industry to find ways to streamline their daily lives, and integrating the newest technology into vehicles opens up a whole new realm of opportunities.  Buyers are looking for a vehicle that that additional elements of safety, efficiency, and comfort.  Much like the smartphone industry, expect to see more impressive innovation in the next ten years than we have seen in the last few decades combined.

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