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7 big car tech trends for 2018

2018-01-16 09:18

Cape Town - Car tech is evolving at lightning speed. Driverless vehicles, hands-free parking and electric engines are already a reality in many parts of the world but there are many other clever innovations coming down the pipe in the automotive world in 2018.

From solar-powered panels to deploying artificial intelligence to defeat car-hackers, we list automotive trends this year.

Here are seven trends to look out for: 

1. Wrists bands as car keys

Wrist bands which can act as keys are becoming available. You tap the band against a specified part of the vehicle to open the door.

In theory, they’re waterproof which means you can go to the beach or the gym or out on the water without having to take your keys with you. Jaguar’s Activity Key is the leader in this category.

2. Augmented reality 

Augmented reality test drives are taking off. Several manufacturers are providing downloadable 3-D driving experiences and How-To features. Hyundai is one brand that’s a long way down the AR road already. 

3. More apps, more in-car entertainment

In-car entertainment is a now huge priority for manufacturers. A self-driving vehicle means that the driver is free to connect with their business life or with entertainment, so expect enhanced in-car live streaming capabilities, augmented reality window displays, upgraded TV screens and bespoke music systems.

4. Dashcams as standard

Dash cams are increasingly required for insurance claims and some manufacturers (notably Citroen with its Connected-CAM) are building them into their vehicles as standard on top-spec cars.

5. Soloar-powered glass

Solar power from the windscreen may be some way off but the experts are working hard on it and the vision is that special car glass will enable the vehicle to be powered by the sun.  

6. More solar power

Side panel batteries are becoming a real thing. Researchers are testing polymer fibre and carbon resin door panels which could store power and be capable of fast recharge. This would significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle.

7. Using AI to defeat carhackers

Computer security features will become increasingly important. Top end cars are now sophisticated computer networks on wheels and manufacturers are using artificial intelligence to develop ‘live’ protection from hacking or viruses which could affect the vehicle’s security or performance. 

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