6 New Technologies That Will Transform Vehicles

April 18th, 2019 by

Every day we see more and more glimpses of the future. Self-driving cars are coming- someday; we saw something like it in the 80s movie, Back to the Future. But at the moment, carmakers and suppliers are focusing on the technologies that can improve a vehicle’s safety, security and, convenience.   

The 2019 New York Auto Show is ahead of the game by showing the media previews set to begin next week. Car companies are searching for ways to stand out from the rivalry in an era when reliability and quality are alike across brands. Tom Mayor, a consultant at KPMG, advises car companies on their strategies and he’s excited about the prospects for this year at the auto show.   

“These things that a few years ago were expensive options on luxury cars are now safety features” across the lineups, states Mayor. “Completely driverless cars are more than 10 to 15 years out. But here are six new technologies you can expect long before you can buy a self-driving car.”


For self-driving cars to become a phenomenon, they must be able to generate and continuously update a digital picture of the environment surrounding them. That requires advanced sensors and radar systems. Magna International, an auto supplier, is developing an “Icon Radar,” which administers military-grade capability to analyze between enabling driverless car technology and individual objects.  

“The existing radar systems are analog,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s chief technology officer. “We looked into the future and said we see a transformation just like in the cell phone industry where you went from analog to digital.” Kotagiri described the system as “imaging radar.”

Magna International said it would be available at the beginning of 2019. “It’s a quantum jump in resolution, both in verticle and in longitudinal,” Kotagiri said. It has the capacity to analyze between two different objectives even if they’re in close proximity to each other – an example would be a pedestrian standing next to a stop sign.


Cars might soon be able to tell if you are driving behind the wheel while intoxicated. Volvo had announced believes that intoxication and distraction should be addressed in their cars by installing in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene. Volvo is installing in-cabin cameras on all of its vehicles beginning in 2020.

They did not reveal details about where they would be placed or how many there would be. The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker said it “wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that change a driver’s behavior.”

General Motors already has in-car cameras positioned in Cadillac cars which come equipped with an automated highway driving system called Super Cruise. The cameras detect the driver’s eye movement to guarantee they stay awake and keep their eyes on the road. If the camera detects anything wrong, they alert the driver to pay attention, and if the person doesn’t respond, it can even bring the vehicle to a halt.


Automakers are swiftly advancing augmented reality systems to help drivers keep their eyes on the road instead of looking for directions. Some models, the luxury kinds, already have the capacity to project other limited information onto a small windshield display, along with the speed limit, for the driver to see. But engineers are taking it further.

“We’re continuing to see a lot of focus on technologies that will reduce driver distraction,” Mayor said. “Picture a full-windshield heads-up display that can project the turn arrow actually onto the road in front of you or at least give you that perception with augmented reality.”


We are still decades off from having completely driverless cars that don’t need a safety driver and can operate in any environment. Safety systems that help drivers are becoming more usual in mainstream models. It was previously available only on large luxury cars, but now, systems like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, are making their way into everyday models; in fact, automakers have pledged to make automatic emergency braking standard on all vehicles by September 2022.


Automakers are trying to pursue a new way to unlock and start vehicles, so concerns about theft are a thing of the past. Wireless key caps left in vehicles are making it easier for thieves to steal cars. At the New York Auto Show, Hyundai is announcing a “Digital Key” that allows vehicle owners to open and start their vehicles with their smartphones.

The system can be computed to work with up to four phones. It will use near-field communication (NFC) technology to catch whether the allowed phone is close to the vehicle’s door. The driver can stop and start the car button when the phone is placed on a wireless charging pad in the center console.

Hyundai is bringing the technology to mainstream buyers of the redesigned 2020 Sonata in New York, which was only mainly available only on luxury brands like Tesla. With the cap, your phone will do all of the work. Hyundai is also expanding a fingerprint-scanning system for starting a vehicle, but there is no mention of the technology being available in the United States.


When Tesla’s introduction of a large touchscreen was brought on as a replacement for most physical control in the vehicle, it influenced competitors to move in a similar direction. The recent arrivals of more reliable voice-assistant technology in the vehicle, such as Amazon, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Alexa, will help reduce some of the safety issues. “Bigger infotainment screens are where the market is going,” Mayor said, “It makes for easy over-the-air upgrades, and it lets consumers use their favorite apps in the vehicle.”

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Photo Credit: usatoday.com


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