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The past year has been something else in the automotive industry. Automakers all over are going electric in a world where consumers are still holding onto their gasoline-powered options. Taking strides towards an eco-friendly automobile, company, and consumer-oriented, automakers have shown us a lot of possibilities in just one year. Take a look at some of the highlights of car tech in 2023.
Let’s Make a Change
One large reason consumers stray from a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) option is because, let’s face it – highways and cities aren’t built for alternative power. Everything off a ramp has at least three things – cheap hotels, fast food, and a gas station. Sure, we got a new bill to finance a new nationwide EV charging infrastructure, but who’s actually going to do something with it? BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis NV are going to with their joint venture to develop a new, high-powered charging network for North America. The Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) is already building these charging stations with a new automatic charging robot and mobile app for remote control when recharging a BEV. Then, there is always the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle initiative.
Automakers are still debating on solid-state versus semisolid-state batteries as the optimum form of power for BEVs. Some automakers are still rethinking how the new BEV platform should look, i.e. Kia and Hyundai, and their Uni-Wheel driving platform. While new developments go into the world of BEVs, some automakers and startups are working on full autonomy for cars. Some are claiming technology as far as level 4 of autonomy, which would in general constitute a lot of the robotaxi companies currently popping up, like the new robotaxi from the Hyundai Motor Group and Motional for the U.S.
Becoming more consumer-oriented, some automakers are offering services for entertainment and accessibility. In September 2023, the Hyundai Motor Group entered into a partnership with SG Enable to start its mobility program for visually impaired persons. Chrysler released a special edition of its Pacifica minivan that may be more comfortable for consumers with passengers on the autistic spectrum, developed with Autism Society of America. In terms of entertainment, Google has launched an open-source infotainment platform for automakers to take and shape their own infotainment system with Google apps and services. This will surely make Amazon angry with its current partnership with Stellantis, but the Uconnect 5 just launched connected services to pave the way for the next phase of automobiles – software-defined vehicles (SDVs) – kind of like the STLA SmartCockpit that appeared at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show, powered by Amazon.
European regulations got a lot stricter this year, now making occupant monitoring systems a requirement, so be on the lookout for that in the next model year or two. Next thing you know, Mitsubishi Electric announced a Contactless Driver Monitoring System Camera, and Stellantis updated its Emergency Vehicle Alert System (EVAS) through a project with HAAS Alerts and Emergency Safety Solutions Inc. to create in-vehicle motivations of immobilized vehicles. We wonder what kind of safety they’re developing for the Stellantis flying taxi project, competition for Hyundai and Kia the Supernal personal aircraft. Oh, and solar-powered cars are a thing thanks to the American crowd-funded startup company, Aptera Motors Corp.
The automotive industry is booming with ideas, and automakers are connecting with their consumers on a new level. Car technology is catching up with laptops and smartphones, and the next car you buy could be more computer than machine. Keep up with all the new car tech when you follow us on NowCar social media. Be safe, and have a Happy New Year!