The Audi TDI. (Courtesy Audi Media)
As 2014 begins and auto-show season is in full swing, many people are wondering how technology and the auto industry will affect each other. Will cars drive themselves, or just help us to be better drivers? Will hybrid cars be the wave of the future? You may remember a cartoon called The Jetsons. Back when it was on the air, many people predicted that cars would fly by the 1980s. Well, that hasn't happened yet. But here are three developments you probably will see in the near future.
1. High-Performance Hybrids
When you think of hybrid vehicles, you think of great fuel economy and limited performance. So the phrase "high-performance hybrids" may seem like an oxymoron. But #cars like Porsche's Panamera E-Hybrid, the Audi R8 e-Tron, and the Tesla Model S offer high-performance driving fun combined with the benefits of an electric vehicle. This latest trend in hybrids offers consumers the performance they desire and still allows drivers to be environmentally friendly. Look for more new models from almost every manufacturer.
2. Almost Autonomous Cars
Believe it or not, you may be driving an almost autonomous car now. With the onset of new technologies like blind-spot detection, lane change departure, backup camera sensors, cross traffic alerts, active cruise control, and many other exciting innovations that allow you to be safer on the road, you're almost halfway there. Having someone else (even a robot) drive your car may not be a good fit for everyone, but consumers do want computers to help be safer on the road. Most manufacturers are stating that you won't see totally autonomous vehicles on the road until 2020. There are many hurdles to clear, including government regulations, consumer acceptance, and legal issues.
3. Diesel-Powered Cars
By the year 2020, more than half the vehicles on the road will be diesel-powered. A recent study showed that consumers are becoming more interested in diesel-powered vehicles because they go longer distances, have better resale value, and give you performance and towing capacity without sacrificing the joy of driving. Almost every German manufacturer offers diesel-powered vehicles and can't keep them on the lot; hence GM and Mazda are now following suit and bringing on diesel-powered vehicles to their lots as well. Look for more manufactures to jump on board in the near future. If you haven't driven a diesel-powered car in a long time, take one for a test drive; you