Future Trends in Automotive Design

Future of Automotive Design

Read an article on www.thecoolist.com which got me thinking about the kinds of things we are seeing in cars these days.  If you think about how the process from the start of the design of a car … through final production typically takes around 3 years, I think design aspects and technology that we are starting to talk about today or even a year ago could very well be where we are going.  Let’s break it down into Design elements, and Technology elements, which I think makes perfect sense.  Seems like you can’t talk about cars today without including technology, which car companies are using to set themselves apart.

Daytime Running LightsLet’s talk design.  Notice how when you look in your rearview mirror at a car behind you, you can almost immediately tell by the daytime lights that it is either an Audi, or a BMW, or a Tesla?  Well, aggressive front lights with a signature look daytime lights are probably going to be a norm here soon, another way for OEMs to assert their brand.  Another design note … panoramic moon roofs.  These are probably not going to be limited to high end SUVs anymore.  Even the new Tesla Model 3 that is being built boasts this feature, it is a psychological way of dealing with less headroom, and I see that being part of more cars.  As we move towards more fuel efficient vehicles, materials come into play.  Aluminum, composites, all reduce weight, and so can affect the design and look of the vehicle.  

Collision AvoidanceBeing a geek for all things tech, I’m excited for some of what we are already seeing that I think could indeed be trends.  The first being HUDs or Heads Up Displays.  Being able to see your speed without always having to glance down is a good thing.  The important piece of this though is not having too much information on HUD … speed and fuel level would be perfect.  Next is self-braking/collision avoidance technology.  VW and Nissan have been advertising this recently.  A lot of the times, things happen … and it’s not that you are a bad driver, things just happen, and technology helping you out isn’t a bad thing.  Many of the luxury brands have cars that feature this technology, and have had it for years.  However, with the VW Passat and Nissan Altima, this technology is making its way into mainstream models, which is great!  I think about new drivers and how easily distracted they get, or if they have friends in their cars … this could save lives!

Finally, the technology that is going into early braking, blind spot detection, and intelligent cruise control seems to be a precursor to s.  Tesla has already managed this with some success, which it uses to help parallel park cars, summon etc.  It’s this combination of GPS, radar and sonar that makes it possible in the Tesla vehicles, and is not out of the realm of possibility for other cars.  Several cars also have cameras that give the driver a 360-degree field of view … add some additional sensors and you can create the environment where you may not even need to be the one driving.  

I admit, the thought of that scares me a little, but if you told me 20 years ago that I could be driving on the freeways in Portland, call someone in Singapore on a phone the size of a kit kat bar, while getting directions on that same device, I would have probably reacted the same way! I’m excited to see what the next 10 years brings in the design and technology of cars.


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