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What to expect from car tech in 2018. Image by Volvo.

What to expect from car tech in 2018
What to expect from car tech in 2018.
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We're not even halfway through 2017, but thoughts are already turning to what 2018 will bring - and especially in the fast-paced world of car tech.

At this stage, it's great fun to take a peek into the not-so-distant future and see what exciting new developments we might expect next year.

The headline act, of course, remains driverless motoring, and in 2018 expect that to have developed even further. A couple of years ago, in a future forecasting round-table style piece for GeekWire, the CEO of Glassdoor, Robert Hohman, nominated electric vehicles as his choice of the important technology of 2018:

"I think self-driving is going to take a little longer than 2018 to get that figured out," he was quoted as saying. "Whoever ends up owning that market, I don't know, but this is the future of cars. They're going to self-update; they're going to be like your phone."

Hohman is probably right; 2018 might arrive a little too soon, but it's creeping ever closer.
As this fascinating article by Digital Trends suggests, 2018 is the year autonomous driving will be within sight. 'If we've got cars that can stop, steer and accelerate independently already, why can't we simply network these functions to work together?' it asks. Accompanying the article is an image of a smartly-dressed chap in a suit reclining behind the wheel with a newspaper to hand - it's probably way too much of a stretch to expect that level of driverless tech within the next 18 months, but that's undoubtedly the way the industry is heading in time.

Google is seen as one of the pioneers of driverless car tech, of course, and this story by RAC breakdown highlights just one area under development. Google has reportedly submitted a patent to test a 'crumpling car bonnet' that would act to reduce the impact between cars and pedestrians in the event of a collision.

From the sublime to the surely ridiculous, the Mirror claimed a 'flying car' would be on the market in 2018. That's right - a flying car. In all fairness, the PAL-V is a kind of three-wheeled car-helicopter rather than a standard vehicle, though it can fly and run on roads (PAL-V stands for personal land and air vehicle). It obviously looks very very cool; first deliveries in Europe are expected at the end of 2018.

That's an extreme example, and a price point starting at around $400,000 (about £310,000) for the basic version - the PAL-V Liberty Sport - surely means it's beyond the budgets of most of us. So, what about more modest car tech developments we might expect in 2018?

Across the industry, it's worth keeping an eye out for the next wave of tech developments from the car manufacturers. As expected, the big focus is on driver assist systems and autonomous driving.

Selected highlights to look out for in 2018 include Ford Mustang's use of a front bumper-mounted radar and a camera to help detect pedestrians in front of the car - and automatically brake if the driver doesn't react in time. Meanwhile, the Head-Up Display system from Jaguar, which uses laser technology to project information on to the windscreen - including the speed of the vehicle and navigation.

Finally, keep an eye on tech that could transform vehicle security. Biometric Vehicle Access systems will allow drivers into their cars by fingerprint recognition or, in some cases, by iris (eye) recognition. There may even be voice recognition systems. We're already seeing examples, but over the coming years demand will grow still further - the global forecast is for the market to be worth over $850m (about £660m) by 2021. No more car keys to lose!

Promoted by Bethany Taylor - 25 Apr 2017

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Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.

Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.Volvo plans for autonomous driving. Image by Volvo.   

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