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The Future of Cars Involves Smarter Driver Assistance Technology

Written By, Brad R

The landscape of vehicles will look a lot different in the coming years. In fact, as soon as several years from now, the interiors of vehicles will look drastically different than the exterior. For more reasons than just the autonomous vehicle technology that is certainly on its way. Electric vehicles are coming in waves as well, with hybrid vehicles more common, but even more advanced will be the news offered by Consumer Reports and various high-tech companies that have developed new tech being perfected for implementation in vehicles. 

New Technologies Are Being Implemented 

New dramatic screen displays will offer an enhanced driving experience that involves connectivity to enhance safety technology. This will also involve improved drivers seating, akin to what is found in the cabin of an airplane. Consumer Reports has received insight from those with the knowledge in the automotive industry, spoken directly to analysts and suppliers. The reports that have come as a result speak to the growing changes buyers can expect going forward with automotive technology. One idea that has been mentioned across multiple industries is wider, larger screens that offer vivid colors and fast responses.

“What’s happening to displays is that they’re becoming larger, they’re becoming curved, and there’s more of them,” says James Fisher, a spokesman for Visteon, an automotive supplier that makes screens and other infotainment technology for manufacturers including Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz.

Curved Infotainment Screens Are All the Rage

Luxury vehicles will not be the only brands to implement this change in technology. In addition to brighter, easier-to-read touchscreen displays, the next generation of vehicles will add screens that are built in a curved design that surround drivers, found today in the new Cadillac Escalade. Some companies are focused on coming up with a bendable center console display that can be set up to look outwards to either the driver or passenger. Despite the wow factor, consumers don’t necessarily want bigger, fancier screens. There is a market for this, as the success of the 2019 and 2020 Ram 1500 pickups offer a massive footlong screen that allows drivers to navigate easier, providing a safer experience for drivers as they can avoid using their smaller smartphone screens in place of an infotainment experience that is in front of them. This integration allows drivers to look ahead rather than down at a small screen. 

Consumers Warming Up Towards the Idea

The changes to the automotive world are happening faster than some consumers prefer. For such a long time, the more simple an infotainment system or interface, the better. However, that has been slowing reversing as drivers embrace the perks of rear view cameras, safety technology that integrates with helpful controls like lane-keep assist and other perks. The infotainment setup is just another step towards the right direction. The number of those in a recent survey found 56 percent of drivers reported they were very satisfied with their car’s infotainment system, but that leaves a lot of room for improvement. One change that is expected is adding technology to ensure drivers keep their focus on the road ahead. These technologies will help with the newly established rules adopted in the United States and EU that require drivers to not use their smartphones when driving. Going even further, in Europe new cars are expected to have this technology designed to alert a driver of any drowsiness or inattentiveness while behind the wheel. 

Helpful Technology Is Progressing To Save Lives

Bosch, one of the top automotive suppliers has been working on a new interior monitoring system for vehicles that can detect eyelid movements, the direction of gaze, as well as the driver's sitting position. Aside from alerting a driver when they might be too distracted, the system will position airbags depending on how a vehicle's occupant is seated, and set off alarms if any child or pet remains in the vehicle. This is very useful technology still in development, but tests have shown that drowsy drivers are worse behind the wheel than inebriated drivers. And, we can all agree that no child or pet should be left unattended. Some new systems are available today, but this technology is growing in functionality. GM has begun work on its Super Cruise feature that tracks drivers with a camera-based system to help ensure drivers pay attention to the road. Mercedes-Benz, Genesis, Peugeot and more are developing this technology currently.

“Driver monitoring is especially important in cars where drivers can activate some driver assistance features, such as lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, and active driving assistance, with the push of a button, and essentially hand over some control of the vehicle,” said Kelly Funkhouser, head of autonomous and connected vehicles at Consumer Reports.

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