18 Mar 2019

Motoring Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2019

We may be almost a quarter of the way through 2019, but it seems we're yet to properly scratch the surface of what the year will bring in terms of motoring technology.

Electric cars became big business last year, with more and more manufacturers outlining their plans for a future that's less reliant on petrol and diesel, but what motoring trends are being predicted for the months ahead?

More apps, more connectivity, more technology

If 2018 was the year that the electric car hit the mainstream and really started to pick up speed (fast-tracked thanks to high profile announcements from the likes of Tesla), then it seems that this year will be where the focus gradually shifts; from what's under the bonnet to what's inside the cab.

Some manufacturers are already giving customers access to specialist apps, but we can expect to see more follow suit as the personal experience becomes more desirable. Not all apps are created equally, but hopefully a certain standard of quality will become common as manufacturers, such as Nissan, are striving to make the car a data hub. That means you should start to see information pulled in from a greater amount of external sources, such as the weather, music streaming, voice recognition, and real-time traffic information amongst others. An increase in cameras and augmented reality is also being ushered in by the likes of the Range Rover Evoque, which uses a live video feed overlayed onto the traditional rear-view mirror for better visibility and can make the bonnet effectively opaque with clever use of cameras. 

An increase in electric vehicles

Up until now, electric vehicles seem to have fallen into one of two categories; short-range vehicles designed for urban driving, or high-end status symbols. That looks set to change in 2019 however, with established brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz releasing the e-tron SUV and EQC model respectively.

The more 'everyday' end of the EV spectrum is also set to see a big boost, with Mini set to follow the success of its hybrid Countryman by releasing a fully electric vehicle with a range of over 186 miles. Honda meanwhile, has promised a production version of its Urban EV concept for this year, and DS (Citroen's higher-spec label) is working to phase out combustion engines all together, starting with the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense.

Wireless charge points will emerge

Now that electric vehicles have built up a head of steam, as it were, manufacturers and brands are having to spend less time and money convincing the public of the benefits and can start to make ownership generally more convenient.

A big part of that ideal is likely to be a focus on wireless charging. The UK charging network isn't quite ready for a large scale switch to new technology, but BMW and Audi are leading the charge when it comes to powering up your car at home. BMW has announced that anyone who buys the 530e iPerformance will be able to lease a charging pad, meaning you will simply have to park over a small piece of kit to start the power cycle, while Audi are known to be testing similar technology to coincide with the release of the e-tron later this year.

Self-driving cars will continue moving forward

The likelihood of seeing actual driverless cars in the UK, or anywhere, this year are slim to zero. There are simply too many kinks to work out in the systems, not to mention a whole host of legal issues to clear up before self-driving cars can be certified as safe and start to appear on the roads.

That's not to say, however, that we won't continue to see advancement in artificial intelligence systems. Far from it. In fact, Audi, again proving their commitment to new technology, has already fulfiled its promise of including SAE level 3 autonomous driving in the newest A8. The Traffic Jam Pilot system allows drivers to sit back as an autopilot takes over, and can be enabled under certain conditions at speeds of up to 37mph. Traffic Jam Pilot is only legal in Germany right now, but Audi are hopeful it can be rolled out in the UK sooner rather than later.

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