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Old 3rd August 2015, 13:30   #1
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Default Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

We have seen a plethora of changes in automotive technology in the last ten or so years. As our engineering and technology advanced in leaps and bounds in last few decades, some of the bi-products have come in automotive sector as well. And if we look back in history, most of those technological advancements started with motor racing and the pinnacle of it was F1. Car racing technologies have influenced production cars in many ways. Car racing have always sought to build the fastest and the best performing cars possible. In the process most of these technologies, if not all, have come to the cars running on our roads- from the basic engine designs to aerodynamics to safety features and even the rear view mirror.

At first every new technology starts with the top end luxury cars or super cars and then slowly but steadily comes down the chain to the mass production cars. Do note that by mass production cars I mean to say cars upto D segment and not the luxury or entry level luxury cars as they don't sell in high volumes in India. Not so long ago it was considered impressive if a car had electric windows, air conditioners and a CD player. But now these are just as essential as having a steering wheel in a car. Apart from these regular features there are some more advanced or tech savvy features coming our way or have they come already!

Car manufacturers want to bring one or two unique features in their cars to differentiate it from the crowd and to make use of it as its usp. Nissan brought keyless entry and go when they launched Micra back in 2010. Back then this feature was not only segment first but the same was not available even in the segments above I guess. Similarly, VW brought Polo with height adjustable driver seat, telescopic steering, lane change indicators etc. again for the first time in a hatchback in India. Now a days, these features have become the norm. This way some features have already made their way in our budget car segments. Features like sunroof, blinkers on orvms, auto dimming rear view mirror, rear ac vents were available only in a 50+ lakh rupee car not so long ago. Now they are there in cars below 10 lakh. Some other features like LED DRLs, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers etc. can be found in some cars and although they are new, I can safely assume that these will also become standard features in near future. Some more examples of these if you really like to know are:

1. Automatic transmission
2. Advanced engine and tyre technologies
3. Push button start/stop system
4. Disc brakes
5. Airbags & ABS
6. Auto folding ORVMs
7. Automatic climate control
8. Navigation
9. Bluetooth audio streaming
10. Parking Sensors
11. Paddle Shifters
12. Projector and xenon lamps and the list will go on.

Now some of you might say that airbags and disc brakes are not new. Well for your information, US made airbags mandatory in passenger vehicles only after September 1998. While I don't have the exact data, you can all guess since when we've started to get airbags standard in our beloved vehicles. Infact, there are companies who still believe airbags are unnecessary for us and only provide one in their top most variants. They love to offer cup holders ahead of airbags in our market.

Coming back to our main topic of discussion, I'd like to point out some of the features that we have seen in the higher end of the spectrum and features that we will see or we want to see in mass production everyday vehicles in few years time. These are real and existing features available in niche segment cars and not those future techs that hasn't seen the light of the day yet like self driving cars, biometric vehicle access etc. Some of these are currently available in one or two budget cars right now but are not industry standard yet. So here goes the list:

Regenerative Braking: To those of you who haven't heard of it (I doubt there is any such bhpian on forum), I'll quote wikipedia,
Quote:
"A regenerative brake is an energy recovery mechanism which slows down a vehicle or object by converting its kinetic energy into another form, which can be either used immediately or stored until needed. This contrasts with conventional braking systems, where the excess kinetic energy is converted to heat by friction in the brake linings and therefore wasted. In addition to improving the overall efficiency of the vehicle, regeneration can also greatly extend the life of the braking system as its parts do not wear down as quickly."
I know many of you will say that when even ABS is not standard across segments, are we not looking at a distant future? Well Mahindra is already offering it in XUV5oo and rumour has it that the new Ford Endeavour will have it as well.
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Hybrid Technology: Again I'll quote
Quote:
"A hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion. At the moment, that means combining a normal petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. The chief advantages of a hybrid are that it uses less fuel and emits less CO2 than most conventional non-hybrid vehicles."
In our 'kitna deti hay' market this tech, if launched, will certainly become a success.

Blind Spot Monitor: Just like parking sensors, it's a vehicle based sensor device that detects other vehicles located to the driver's side and rear. There is audio visual warning to keep the driver alert when necessary. In our road conditions this may not be very effective but it's always nice to have some extra safety tech, isn't it?
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Active Head Restraint: In simple words, active restraint moves forward and upward in a rear-end collision to save the passenger from having head and neck related injuries and whiplash injuries. Although it has its usefulness but since manufacturers in our market give less importance to passenger safety, we may not see it in regular budget cars just yet.
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Memory Seats & Mirrors: When VW launched Polo with seat height adjustment for driver seat, it was a highlight feature and probably first in segment. Now this is a common feature for B2 segment hatches and above. Now a days cars like Jetta, Octavia and Elantra come with electric seat adjustments but without memory functions which I guess make the whole thing pointless. This feature is specially useful where one car is driven by more than one member in a family.
Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow-memory-seats.jpg

Audio Controls on Rear Armrest: This is one feature that awed me when I first saw it in some German luxury car but now this feature is probably coming our way. Take for example: Elantra has it in its latest avatar.
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Folding Display: Audi has it in different models including the newly launched A3 sedan. Howmany of you wouldn't want to flaunt a folding display in your car, even if the functionality is restricted or offer less features than a normal unit. It not only promotes luxury but also makes the dash more clutterfree.
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Head up Display (HUD): HUD offers style and functionality in one place. These displays are becoming increasingly available in production cars, and usually offer speedometer, tachometer, navigation etc. Now who wouldn't want to have this tech on his daily drive.
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Self Park: This is one feature that has already made its way in some cars like VW Passat and the upcoming Superb but considering these cars are not very common in our mainstream marketplace, I'll include this on my list. This feature is not only gimmicky but also delivers in tight parking situations. But I believe it still has some way to go before it can be trusted blindly.

TPMS: Tyre Pressure Monitoring System is available as an after market accessories and is mostly common among some lower end luxury cars as well but mass production cars in India still don't have it in common except XUV5oo. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Electric Tailgate: Too much technology in a car is not a good thing for the long run but that doesn't stop us from going for them. Some Audis, BMWs, Volvos, Evoques have it and we could see it being offered in a sub 20 lakh rupee vehicle in times to come.

Carbon Fiber: We've seen excessive chrome treatments on cars in India and as it stands, the market just love to have chrome on almost everything. While it's not as glittery, carbon fibre finish could well be the next big thing. Just imagine how carbon fibre treatments on your cars dashboard would spice things up. It may not be as cheap as those chrome window linings but it has a fat chance to succeed if offered in our market.
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Advanced Vehicle Tracking: This feature is not available right now even in some of the most expensive cars.But this is somewhat available in after market shops, although, nothing like getting it as OEM. And are we heading to a future where insurance companies will require comprehensive vehicle tracking? May be yes. Only time will tell.

Remote Vehicle Shutdown: This is somewhat related to the last point but it could also be an essential feature to stop car theft in our country. But there is other side of the coin. What if your finance company/bank shuts down your vehicle in the middle of the road because you failed to pay just one emi in the last month.

In Car Internet: After smartphones, we will soon have smart cars around. Google launched 'Android Auto' that can be connected to car dash board for infotainment. It also enables the driver to access GPS, maps, streaming music, weather, and a host of other applications. Just hope it doesn't distract you enough while driving.
Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow-car-net.jpg

Automatic Highbeam Control: Lexus offers a system that automatically illuminates and dims the high-beam headlights in relation to approaching traffic. A camera mounted on the rearview mirror detects when the vehicle is closing in on oncoming traffic, as well as vehicles ahead traveling in the same direction, and disengages the high beams. Mercedes-Benz offers Adaptive Highbeam Assist in the new E-Class. It doesn't merely switch between low and high beams, but reacts by gradually increasing or lowering the light distribution based on the distance of approaching traffic. Audi has a similar tech in their A8 saloon. It also dims the high beams for sharp turns and then re-engages the high beams if there is no approaching traffic once the turn is completed.
Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow-auto-high-beam.jpg

These are some of the features that come to my mind that if offered, will make our living/driving experience even better. Some of it if not all probably will make its way in a 5 lakh rupee hatch some day. What do you say. Also please share other innovative features that are there in niche segment cars and are yet to filter down the line to mass production cars in India.

Last edited by GTO : 5th August 2015 at 09:59. Reason: Spacing :)
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Old 4th August 2015, 12:23   #2
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th August 2015, 15:01   #3
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpainter View Post

Regenerative Braking: To those of you who haven't heard of it (I doubt there is any such bhpian on forum), I'll quote wikipedia, I know many of you will say that when even ABS is not standard across segments, are we not looking at a distant future? Well Mahindra is already offering it in XUV5oo and rumour has it that the new Ford Endeavour will have it as well.
Attachment 1398594
Unfortunately Mahindra does not have this. What they call as brake energy recuperation is different than what you described. In true hybrid cars like the Camry Hybrid, the brake energy recovery system works exactly like you describe.

In the Mahindra XUV5OO, it's a very basic system. Basically the battery charges only when coasting or decelerating i.e. not during acceleration. The system engages the alternator which charges the battery only when coasting/braking. During acceleration the alternator is disconnected thereby reducing the load on the engine and resulting in better efficiency.

Engine power is wasted during braking/acceleration as engine is idling. By using that to charge the battery they are effectively reducing the load under acceleration.

Quote:
Automatic Highbeam Control: Lexus offers a system that automatically illuminates and dims the high-beam headlights in relation to approaching traffic. A camera mounted on the rearview mirror detects when the vehicle is closing in on oncoming traffic, as well as vehicles ahead traveling in the same direction, and disengages the high beams. Mercedes-Benz offers Adaptive Highbeam Assist in the new E-Class. It doesn't merely switch between low and high beams, but reacts by gradually increasing or lowering the light distribution based on the distance of approaching traffic. Audi has a similar tech in their A8 saloon. It also dims the high beams for sharp turns and then re-engages the high beams if there is no approaching traffic once the turn is completed.
A basic system of this already available in the Superb which changes the beam pattern based on vehicle speed. The A6 with LED lights has the same thing you mentioned.

What's even more interesting is the Audi A8 matrix LED which adjusts the beam patterns not just on steering input or speed or oncoming lights but by GPS. The system uses the maps and GPS system to know when you are approaching an intersection and actually widens the beam when approaching the intersection.
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Old 4th August 2015, 18:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpainter View Post

Coming back to our main topic of discussion, I'd like to point out some of the features that we have seen in the higher end of the spectrum and features that we will see or we want to see in mass production everyday vehicles in few years time. These are real and existing features available in niche segment cars and not those future techs that hasn't seen the light of the day yet like self driving cars, biometric vehicle access etc. Some of these are currently available in one or two budget cars right now but are not industry standard yet. So here goes the list:
A wonderful post! You’ve given a lot of thought into it indeed!

I wish to add one more critical technological advancement to that list: The use of aluminium and carbon fibres in car bodies and frames.

Aluminium:

Mass market car manufacturers have employed aluminum for more than a decade to take some of the heft out of engine blocks, wheels, car doors and trunk lids. But, the material used to construct vehicle chassis and frames has always been carbon steel (mild steel to be more specific).

As of now, only the premium car manufacturers, especially Audi and Jaguar produce models with bodies made from two-thirds aluminum and one-third steel. The other luxury car manufacturers are also getting there. The A4(2016), A6, A8 and the Q7(2016) all use mostly aluminium. The Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport both shed about 300 kilos, which is quite significant. Even the Rolls-Royce Phantom and BMW i8 use Aluminium frames.

The obvious advantage of using Aluminium over carbon steels is the weight. When applied to an optimized automotive body structure, Aluminum can provide weight savings of up to 50 percent compared with traditional carbon steel structure.

A lighter vehicle offers improved:
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Braking
  • Handling
  • Acceleration

An aluminum body frame can absorb a higher energy crash impact versus carbon(mild) steel. Because of its lighter weight, the thickness of body panels can be increased without adding extra weight to the vehicle.

Carbon Fibre Reinforced plastics(CFRP):

This is another material which is highly capable. In fact, I would say it’s even more capable than Aluminium. However, there is, still, a worldwide debate going on about the superiority of CFRPs.

Currently, CFRPs are used in motorsports, BMW i3, Chevy Corvette, McLaren and Koenigsegg models (that’s all I could think of. Could be more).

CFRP is around 50% lighter than steel, and 30% lighter than aluminium. In addition, the material is stable, rigid and resistant to corrosion and aging.
An aluminum car fender given a small bump will dent while a carbon fiber one will bounce back without a scratch.

At present, the price of carbon fibre components is much higher than high-strength steel and aluminium. There are also other issues, such as manufacturing costs, recycling and supply.

I think this will be the reason why carbon fibre will not be immediately adopted by the automotive sector in mainstream vehicle manufacturing.

For Aluminium on the other hand, it’s just a matter of time, before we see a mass car production manufacturer, introduce a car with majority Aluminium in its chassis.

Last edited by charlessuresh : 4th August 2015 at 18:56.
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Old 4th August 2015, 23:21   #5
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This is a very interesting post. From my past experience of visiting the Auto Expos and the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), It is evident that cars are more gadgets than just mobility tools. Your observation of engine and safety tech cascading down from motorsports is accurate. However, I feel that the comfort and convenience technology cascades down from aviation industry. Take for eg. The in flight entertainment systems and how the Volvo buses' entertainment have started to look very similar in experience.

With Internet coming into cars, the possibilities of convenience are endless. Which is yet to be solved in the aviation sector as Internet access is expensive and hence limited there. Imagine on demand car hire services when keyless entry and go progresses to your phone or credit card instead of a key, or services delivered into the car which would never be possible without internet connectivity.

I know your post delves on near term tech which is yet to come to mass production. But allow me to indulge into the features that software or Operating Systems can enable. Essentially platforms like iOS that partnered with Ferrari about two years ago are just dying to come into mass production cars. Imagine a whole new startup ecosystem bases on C-Commerce. C stands for car. What do you think?

Last edited by Eddy : 5th August 2015 at 10:34. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th August 2015, 01:01   #6
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Great thread!

Self driving cars seem to be a hot thing right now. While this tech is quite far away in its full implementation, vehicles like the Tesla Model S and the S Class do capture a semblance of its potential even today. The ability to 'read' the road, other drivers, signs etc. combined with access to the so-called 'Internet of Things' is likely to make this a very relevant convenience and safety feature in the near future. Google's self driving car and Audi's road tripping RS7 might just be case studies, but they show what's possible. I for one am quite excited to see where we go with this.

Last edited by Eddy : 5th August 2015 at 10:34. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th August 2015, 10:32   #7
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All this is going to be great but as an enthusiast,i can't help but think that in future cars will have no soul what's so ever. Technology would spoil things for me. I would always chose mechanical cars over tech laden.
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Old 5th August 2015, 11:19   #8
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Let me add some information from public source about the most talked about technology of the future. The autonomous car / highly automated driving.

Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow-driverlesscarcontrolsystem.png

Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow-osucar.gif

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Old 5th August 2015, 11:52   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Unfortunately Mahindra does not have this. What they call as brake energy recuperation is different than what you described. In true hybrid cars like the Camry Hybrid, the brake energy recovery system works exactly like you describe.
Thank you very much sir for pointing it out. My bad . And you're right that what I was referring to resembles to the one available with hybrid cars like the Camry hybrid. But the one comes with Xuv is also new and I think Mahindra will use it in their next Scorpio update as well.


Quote:
What's even more interesting is the Audi A8 matrix LED which adjusts the beam patterns not just on steering input or speed or oncoming lights but by GPS. The system uses the maps and GPS system to know when you are approaching an intersection and actually widens the beam when approaching the intersection.
I posted this based on this video I saw some time ago. I know it's all very expensive technology and will take a hell lot of time to get this in everyday cars.


Quote:
Originally Posted by charlessuresh View Post
I wish to add one more critical technological advancement to that list: The use of aluminium and carbon fibres in car bodies and frames.

Aluminium:

Mass market car manufacturers have employed aluminum for more than a decade to take some of the heft out of engine blocks, wheels, car doors and trunk lids. But, the material used to construct vehicle chassis and frames has always been carbon steel (mild steel to be more specific).
Excellent point. I did miss out on that one. I guess Audi is one such manufacturer who uses aluminum in all its vehicles. Hopefully this will filter down to cheaper cars sooner rather than later. And with all its merits that you've described, this is going to be a big step for the auto industry as a whole. Just hope that the dent repairs are not as expensive as they are in an Audi these days.

Quote:
Carbon Fibre Reinforced plastics(CFRP):
Quote:

CFRP is around 50% lighter than steel, and 30% lighter than aluminium. In addition, the material is stable, rigid and resistant to corrosion and aging.
An aluminum car fender given a small bump will dent while a carbon fiber one will bounce back without a scratch.
This will be of immense help in our road conditions where 80% of all cars on road run with atleast one dent/scratch on body. But yes this tech in regular cars is still a pipe dream

Quote:
Originally Posted by witwiky View Post
This is a very interesting post. From my past experience of visiting the Auto Expos and the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), It is evident that cars are more gadgets than just mobility tools. Your observation of engine and safety tech cascading down from motorsports is accurate. However, I feel that the comfort and convenience technology cascades down from aviation industry. Take for eg. The in flight entertainment systems and how the Volvo buses' entertainment have started to look very similar in experience.
So true. We're not even talking about DC designed buses which are almost comparable to a business class flight cabin.

Quote:
With Internet coming into cars, the possibilities of convenience are endless. Which is yet to be solved in the aviation sector as Internet access is expensive and hence limited there. Imagine on demand car hire services when keyless entry and go progresses to your phone or credit card instead of a key, or services delivered into the car which would never be possible without internet connectivity.
Internet in cars will also help vehicular communication systems. These modern techs will definitely make future cars interesting.

Quote:
I know your post delves on near term tech which is yet to come to mass production. But allow me to indulge into the features that software or Operating Systems can enable. Essentially platforms like iOS that partnered with Ferrari about two years ago are just dying to come into mass production cars. Imagine a whole new startup ecosystem bases on C-Commerce. C stands for car. What do you think?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stigissimo View Post
Great thread!

Self driving cars seem to be a hot thing right now. While this tech is quite far away in its full implementation, vehicles like the Tesla Model S and the S Class do capture a semblance of its potential even today. The ability to 'read' the road, other drivers, signs etc. combined with access to the so-called 'Internet of Things' is likely to make this a very relevant convenience and safety feature in the near future.
Talking about future cars, this is what I want to see:

Almost like a James Bond movie isn't it? Or something like 'Knight Rider', a tv series I used to see in my boyhood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doge View Post
All this is going to be great but as an enthusiast,i can't help but think that in future cars will have no soul what's so ever. Technology would spoil things for me. I would always chose mechanical cars over tech laden.
With technological advancements this is bound to happen. When Hydraulic Power Steerings were replaced with EPS, people used to say the same thing. These are just part of life that we all have to accept. All we can hope is that the advantages will out weight the shortcomings in a better way.
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Old 5th August 2015, 12:11   #10
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

I believe maybe a decade or so later once autonomous cars become reliable and costs reduce to the point of making them mass market, govts worldwide might regulate that humans will not be allowed to drive their vehicles on public roads in interest of safety.

Humans could still get behind a wheel on a race track. Cars with autonomous driving on public roads and human driver on private roads might become the new age exotics. Much like DSG with tiptronic today. or , cannot decide.
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Old 5th August 2015, 12:18   #11
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Good Compilation.

Any reason to exclude Fully Autonomous Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control?

The use of Route Data and GPS technology to control more parameters of the car will become common,
  1. Automatic GearShift based on terrain information is implemented by Mercedes (Truck Division),
  2. Head Lamp Control is interesting application.
  3. Companies are exploring the option of applying Legal Speed Limits on Vehicles (electronically) based on Vehicle positions.
  4. Maybe Car Interior Temperature Control using Location Data..
A group of German carmakers have bought out Nokia's Here Mapping service recently for 2.8 bn Euros for access to their detailed maps.
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Old 5th August 2015, 12:26   #12
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Very good thread indeed!!

Out of all those technologies, I personally believe ANDROID AUTO and APPLE CAR PLAY will not only disrupt the in-car technology and entertainment segment, but also provide a seamless experience in bringing your daily personal & work life into the car.

If I'm not wrong, VW is readying their upcoming cars with those compatibilities already. We can see the MP3 players with plethora of buttons on them become extinct in near future, replaced by gorgeous touch screens.
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Old 5th August 2015, 13:05   #13
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Posted on a incorrect thread!! mods, please delete this

Last edited by vinair : 5th August 2015 at 13:08.
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Old 5th August 2015, 21:16   #14
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

i think the most useful feature that can easily come down to all vehicles (not just cars) is cornering headlamps (just the direction change with steering input - not the adaptive ones) - especially in india, will be a very practical feature that will avoid lots of accidents
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Old 6th August 2015, 15:14   #15
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Default Re: Future tech & features we'll see in the mass market cars of tomorrow

Regarding powertrain especially ,India is most likely to follow the path adopted by U.S.The below link has a detailed info and crisp comparison on how niche technologies have gained substantial market share.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014...ends.html#more
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