Many years ago, car predictions focused on futuristic vehicles that could practically fly themselves to your destination while brewing a hot cup on Java.  With sleek, aerospace inspired lines, these ‘Jetsons’ machines were just around the corner, so to speak. Well, we’re not quite flying on auto-pilot to work yet, although today’s cars and trucks embody the cutting edge of technology as it exists. Computers and sensors and ‘smart’ vehicle systems have integrated the automobile with the rest of the world in ways that would seem like science fiction but a few decades ago.

 

So, what are the likely auto tech trends on our horizon? Advanced computer systems and context-aware algorithms will allow software to customize your commute. From finding the nearest available parking garage to the nearest place that offers your preferred dinner menu, these functions are soon to graduate to the next level. “We can already do this with our smartphones or GPS” you say. But does your smartphone or GPS know the context within which certain queries take place? For example, when the weather is inclement and you are behind schedule, today’s software will still provide the same answer. But the next generation of this technology will analyze circumstantial values, and assign different priorities to various elements that affect the situation at hand most directly.  

 

Machine learning will also serve to improve safety by collecting and processing real-time data within the driving environment. For example – your car will be aware of weather conditions based on access to streaming data and it will know the route you are taking based on your schedule; it will know your driving abilities from cumulative in-vehicle information gathered over time, and sensor telemetry will keep on-board computers apprised of actual conditions where the tires meet the pavement. You won’t need to worry about black ice or curvy roads, as the vehicle will already have taken compensatory measures to deal with these variables.

 

The future of automotive technology is bright. Perhaps we are not that far away from the aerocar of yesterday’s fiction, but one thing is certain – the cars of the near-future will be an true extension of the operator, improving every aspect of driving and owning a vehicle!

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