The future of automotive

2015 International CES

Last week the International Consumer Electronics Show returned to Las Vegas, giving exclusive first glances at this years’ technology trends. With a record 10 automotive manufacturers exhibiting this year including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW, we took a look at the future of automotive.

Now self-parking cars are in production and widely available, automotive manufacturers have now turned their attention to creating the ‘driverless’ vehicle. Audi calls their self-driving technology ‘Piloted Driving’ and showcased their steps towards the future with their A7 concept car at CES. The A7 took a 560 mile journey from Silicon Valley, California to the CES in Las Vegas with very little manual guidance, demonstrating that the sensors and equipment used are very near to being ready for mass production.

Audi are not the only ones at it, back in 2013 the Mercedes-Benz S500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle drove itself on a 100km journey. Since then Mercedes-Benz has taken big steps to enhance their driverless car, both conceptually and stylistically, and at the CES on Monday evening Mercedes-Benz revealed their latest concept car, the F 015. With a spacious cabin area and lounge-like seating the F 015 is being called the ‘mobile living room’. Created under the Mercedes project “City of the future 2030+” the F 015 has 6 incorporated display screens to ensure connectivity with the world outside, while at the same time keeps with the classic Mercedes luxurious theme.

While the notion of the self-driving car has been around for some time now, 2015 looks set to be the year the ideas become a reality, and with the number of drivers on the road at an all time low (in the U.S. the percentage of 19 year olds with a driver licence dropped from 87% to 79% in recent years ) the car industry hope that the driverless concept will help keep car sales up as driver license numbers drop. Driverless vehicles could eliminate up to 95% of today’s accidents that are due to human error, making for a much safer journey.

Aside from the new era of driverless cars, other aspects of automotive technology are also growing. BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is now accompanied with a touch screen fob. This fob has a 2.2 inch LCD screen that displays information such as your fuel level and the distance you can drive. It will also inform you when you need to check your vehicle in for a service and if the door and windows are locked. The user is able to swipe through the differing options similarly to the easy usability of a smart phone, but thankfully, with much better charge; the battery can last up to 3 months. The touch screen fob is set to be released for sale this year.