The future of driving could be completely unrecognisable

The future of driving could be completely unrecognisable

26 Jun

By Gwyn Fennell

With the advancements in technology and the evolution of transport over the last century, car manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry have had to continually adapt to keep pace. Such has been the case for Continental. Starting out as a rubber manufacturing company in 1871, today they’re renowned throughout the world for their award winning premium tyres. Nobody offers drivers better grip on wet or dry roads, in all seasons. Just ask Auto Express.

When Continental first started, the automotive revolution had not yet begun, though it was close. In 2019, they continue to be one of the most advanced rubber manufacturers in the world, but have now expanded to become a automotive technology company that also provides car makers with solutions for powertrains, chassis and safety, interiors, and other software/technologies.

Continental have continually developed and evolved, and evolution is the challenge that all car manufacturers are facing as we head into the coming decades. Why? Because the world is asking what a car could – or should – be.

Our relationship with the car is set to change

With the fast progression of automation in the automotive sector, there are questions about the future role people will have in cars. With semi-autonomous technology already available in many modern cars – and with little driver involvement necessary – our vehicles can already automatically change lanes, speed up and slow down, and self-park without our involvement.

Breakthroughs in computing, sensors and processing have redefined the capabilities of the car. In twenty years time, will we find ourselves simply supervising the AI that does the driving for us, in autonomous vehicles? There are many who think so, and are already preparing for such a future.

If this proves to be the case, should cars become completely different environments for their occupants? Should they look more like a living space than a typical car interior, offering high levels of comfort with advanced connectivity and infotainment systems? It seems only right, since if we don’t have to spend the journey time concentrating on the task of driving, surely it could be put to better use?

An emissions-free future is essential

Currently, consumers and manufacturers alike bestride the gap between traditional combustion engines, and their electric alternatives. Car makers are working tirelessly to try and ensure that the vehicles they introduce over the next few years are optimised to swap fire for electricity. And governments around the world have promised deadlines to end the sale of cars with combustion engines.

If this comes to pass, will car marques – famous around the globe for their thrilling engines and driver engagement – be able stay relevant in an electrified world? The jury is still out. To support the predicted flood of electric cars to be driven on the UK’s roads over the next few decades, charging points are being built across the country; and some people are having smaller chargers installed at their places of work, and at home. We may even see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles enjoy a larger share of the market.

Prepared for change

With so many possible automotive outcomes to consider, car manufacturers are likely be showcasing some pretty exotic concept vehicles in the not so distant future. What a car should and could be is currently up for grabs, and being considered by designers and engineers everywhere. Continental is helping drive this conversation. They’re prepared for any eventuality, thanks to the the extensive research, development and diversity of its engineering and manufacturing portfolio.

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Gwyn Fennell
Gwyn has been in the motor industry for over 35 years with experience in vehicle design, electrics, engine management, geometry and of course tyres. Continental has been Gwyn’s home for the past 15 years, where he has become a qualified trainer and examiner to both IMI and NTDA standards and now working towards the IQA qualification. Gwyn’s job has evolved and expanded in recent times and a more accurate but less pleasing to read title would be Technical Customer Service & ContiAcademy Training Centre Manager. It’s no surprise that Gwyn has excellent knowledge from the tyres up so when any technical questions come his way you know he’ll be providing the best advice possible.
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