Location forecast: what we know, and what we don't know, about the future of driving
The future of the automotive industry will be shared, electric, connected and automated — or will it? HERE360 looks at some of the unfolding scenarios automakers are betting on.
Just how smart can cars get?
The vehicle-to-everything market — also known as V2X — is expected to grow by 21.9% annually by 2029. The ability of a car or truck to communicate with the infrastructure around it will have wide-reaching implications for safety and the driving experience more generally.
Both short and longer-range forms of communication can help the car effectively see around corners, sending warnings to the driver and other road users of obstacles ahead. It can also be used for real-time map updates. This technology could help protect everyone on the roads and ultimately move autonomous driving forward.
We used to hear a lot about range anxiety as an obstacle to further EV uptake — both for consumers and commercial fleets. Yet many territories have boosted their charging infrastructure or have plans to do so.
Meanwhile, effective routing tools such as HERE EV Charge Points can help drivers plan their journeys without fear of running out of power. What's next could be batteries that charge within minutes, making a lot of that planning a whole lot easier.
Companies including QuantumScape are working on innovations to batteries — and these new models are already being put together in assembly lines. These next generation batteries may be a few years from mainstream use, but if everything goes according to plan they could be the final spur for mass adoption of EVs everywhere.
A critical stage in EV uptake by the general population is the point where they become everyday vehicles chosen as the primary car by consumers, rather than a novelty or high-end choice.
With the arrival of cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Ford Mustang Mach-E, that moment seems to have arrived.
Meanwhile, EVs of the two-wheel kind are turning up in the delivery space. E-cargo bikes are being used by Amazon in the UK, a scheme that was recently extended, while the Ono in Germany is a new type of two-wheeler that is something like a cross between a bike and a mini-car. Delivery robots are still in the pilot stage in many locations.
But it seems likely that 2023 will be the year of the all-purpose EV, transporting families, individuals and goods alike, in ways we haven't seen before.
The road to automation
Most of us have accepted that the journey toward fully autonomous driving is a lot more complex than once expected. While Level 5 of the Society of Automotive Engineers' six levels of automation remains distant, however, important advances are still being made.
Maps are key to progression through the SAE's levels of automation.
Mercedes-Benz was the first to launch commercially available Level 3 driving capabilities, beginning with the new S-Class. Its DRIVE PILOT allows hands-free driving in heavy traffic or congested situations on suitable sections of motorways in Germany.
For a vehicle to know which areas and conditions it can drive itself in, high-definition, real-time mapping is crucial. This includes information about traffic, obstacles ahead and the geography of the road itself.
These areas where an automated vehicle can drive, known as operational design domains, will be key as we advance through levels of automation in the year ahead and beyond.
Find out how to make automated driving systems smarter and safer.
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