From advanced display and control technologies to Tesla’s autopilot and the tantalising prospect of the flying car, the latest issue of The Engineer has a strong focus on the technologies that will shape the future of automotive
We’ve remarked before on the increasing convergence of the automotive and consumer electronics sectors. And nowhere was this more evident than at last month’s CES, the global consumer technology tradeshow that takes place every year in Las Vegas.
Vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers have been growing in numbers at CES in recent years, but there were so many at this year’s event that one commentator joked it should be renamed the “Car Electronics Show”
Unsurprisingly, there was a heavy emphasis on electric powertrains and autonomy – the twin forces of profound and rapid change in the sector.
But perhaps more interestingly, there was plenty of evidence of the electronics and automotive sectors working closely together on the development of the advanced human machine interfaces (HMI) that we’ll use to interact with tomorrow’s vehicles.
In this issue’s cover story we take a look at the trends that are driving the development of HMI technology and examine some of the fascinating control and display technologies that could be coming to a car near you soon.
Staying on the automotive theme, our new regular “car of the issue” feature this month takes a look at The Tesla Model X, and puts its much-vaunted autopilot system through its paces. As we report – though the system’s hardware is ready to support full autonomy – the cars current driverless capabilities are constrained by legislation. Nevertheless, Tesla’s lack of emotional baggage in the automotive space means that it’s been able to design the autonomy-ready car from the ground up in a way that perhaps doesn’t come naturally to more established carmakers, and – like the technologies featured in our cover story – the car provides an intriguing glimpse of where our cars are heading.
Looking even further into the future, resident Sci-Fi writer Jon Wallace wonders whether the flying car will ever take off (page 31) and asks whether its potential to render national borders meaningless will stifle the technology before it’s born.