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Mike Waters' blog: 21 July - A glimpse into the future

Date: 21 July 2014   |   Author: Mike Waters

Mike Waters - Senior insight and consultancy manager, Arval: As chief consultant, Waters looks after the firm's CSR activities and market insights, and has produced guides to running alternative fuel vehicles.

If you want to glimpse into the future of vehicle technology it's not difficult.

In the past week I have seen news of a number of initiatives which give me a good feel for what's coming and the direction that the market is moving.

The first was the news that the European Commission is providing funding for a consortium (including The University of Sunderland) to investigate the use of composite materials in motor vehicles.

The crux of the brief is that this type of material is lightweight which is great from a performance and efficiency perspective but doesn't necessarily adhere to safety standards.

The project hopes to develop a robust tool to analyse and design new graphene-based polymer composite materials and study their safety behaviour and long-term performance under severe conditions.

Then I read that Jaguar Land Rover has a new self-learning technology system. In a nutshell it uses a drivers' past behaviour to proactively provide useful functionality.

For example, it remembers their schedule patterns, where they travel to and from, radio channels that they listen to and climate control preferences. It then uses this to provide useful prompts to the driver and deliver the settings that they want.

Finally Bosch is launching a new mobile app which uses the camera integrated in the smartphone to read traffic signs. It then recognizes traffic signs as it passes them and identifies speed limits, cancellation signs and no-passing zones. In addition, it warns the driver visually and acoustically not to exceed the speed limit.

Inside and outside of the car there is so much going on. These are just some very recent examples but all of the manufacturers are innovating as are many other automotive suppliers. On this basis, it looks like the future is going to be an interesting one for drivers.



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