The car industry is one of the fastest moving and most technologically advanced in the world. Just looking back 10 years, the difference in the top of the line cars to those of today is staggering. For this reason, it’s impossible to know for sure what new advancements may be just around the corner. However, by looking at trends within the motoring industry, it is possible to make an educated prediction.
These are the three areas of vehicle technology that may become mandatory in the coming years.
Vehicle tracking for insurance
One technology that is already becoming more prevalent, and could feasibly become mandatory in the future, is the installation of telematics devices by insurance companies. More commonly known as ‘black boxes’, these devices are most often found in young and new driver’s cars, installed as a way to bring down insurance prices for drivers.
Black boxes use vehicle tracking technology to calculate mileage, speed and journey information accurately. This data is then analysed by an insurance provider to determine the cost of a driver’s insurance. In the case of an accident, black box data can be used to alert an insurance provider and even provide a location if a vehicle is stolen. Some providers impose limits on yearly mileage and the time of day drivers are allowed to be on the road, as a further way to reduce prices.
Due to the advantages of black box insurance, most notably that it gives drivers more tailored insurance coverage as the cost relates specifically to their driving habits, it’s not hard to imagine that insurance companies will begin making this mandatory for young drivers. Furthermore, black box coverage may begin to increase for all drivers as insurance companies look to better understand and cater to the needs of their customers.
Another technological element which may become mandatory are dash cams. What started out as a very small section of drivers using dash cams has grown substantially in recent years. As with black box insurance, a dash cam’s primary function is to improve safety and aid drivers in the event of an accident by providing video footage of the incident.
If dash cams are made mandatory by governments or insurance providers, it would not be hard to implement. Third-party dash cams are easy to purchase and install in any vehicle equipped with a USB or cigarette lighter port to power the device. Alternatively, on new cars being designed and produced, many manufacturers already install cameras in the front and rear bumpers to aid with parking. Therefore, it wouldn’t be difficult to configure these cameras to record video while driving, so that the footage could then be accessed after an accident.
By making dash cams mandatory in all vehicles, it would greatly aid insurance companies and law enforcement agencies in better understanding exactly what happened in an accident. One issue to making this mandatory would be the privacy concerns some may have about continuously having their driving recorded by cameras within their cars. As a result, the security of the footage would need to be a priority for manufacturers.
As with dash cams, hybrid vehicles have gone from a rarity to becoming much more common on our roads. The advantages of hybrids are clear. By using an electric motor, powered by batteries that can be charged from the plug or by recovering energy from actions such as braking, the vehicle can be powered at slow speeds without the engine needing to be used. By not using the petrol or diesel engine of the vehicle not only is fuel saved but there is a reduction in the CO2 output of the vehicle.
The reason why hybrid cars may become mandatory for manufacturers is the move towards all-electric vehicles, partly in response to tightening legislation about emissions and the environment. By moving vehicle production to hybrid, this would make for a smoother transition to all-electric in the future.
However, there are serious obstacles which may prevent this from taking place, the most obvious of which is the cost to car manufacturers to suddenly start producing hybrid engines. For this reason, it is more likely to be a gradual progression driven by the manufacturers rather than by lawmakers, and will likely be further in the future – although the transformation has already begun.