Driving The Future: How Technology is Changing the Future of the Transportation Industry – Car News

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Leading car companies like Cruise and Waymo are also using AI to develop self-driving cars and robotaxis.

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By Neha Khadakkar  AVP – R&D Solutions at GreyB

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The transportation industry has seen big technological advancements, from the world’s first gas-powered automobile in 1886 to Tesla’s most modern electric car. Fueled by a need for speed, affordability, and cleaner options, what was once a luxury is now a common sight. 

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As technology raced forward, tires went from wood to rubber. In the 1800s, pneumatic tires were developed to make cars faster. When natural rubber wasn’t enough to scale car production, synthetic rubber came in. Today, rubber has become a major contributor to land pollution, leading the industry to more bio and recyclable options again. Sustainability has become the next big gear shift. 

Zero carbon emission cars are the future

Cars and vans rule the pollution charts, at nearly half (48%) of all transport emissions! While electric cars provide a good option for replacing fuel, extraction of lithium for lithium-ion batteries and other critical materials required for batteries has vulnerable supply chains. 

Technologies such as lithiation and direct recycling will make the industry’s process circular—making new lithium-ion batteries from end-of-life ones. 

Hydrogen will play a critical role in transforming transportation. Big manufacturers are close to launching hydrogen-powered vehicles, and giant investments by Reliance ($75 billion) and Adani ($70 billion) are fueling the race for clean hydrogen production.

Even TATA plans to build buses with Hydrogen fuel cell technology. Truck giant Daimler teamed up with Cummins in 2022 to test hydrogen-powered engines in Freightliner Cascadia trucks for North America.

These fuel cells would leave moisture as automobiles exhaust, making them environmentally friendly. A German aviation firm piloted the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered test flight for 3 hrs in 2023, extending this trend to the aviation sector as well.

Advanced materials will ensure that every part of the car is made from bio or recycled materials

Even with new engines, manufacturing automobile components still adds a carbon footprint. Chemicals and materials derived from petroleum products have been key ingredients, from tires to interiors. OEMs and the entire automobile supply chain network are looking for parts made from recycled or biocontent. Continental Tires, a major tire manufacturing company recently announced to have tires made from 100% recycled content by 2030. In 2022, Volvo released an electric SUV EX90, containing 50kgs of recycled plastics and bio-based materials. In 2023, BMW launched its first vehicle with all-vegan interiors, reducing carbon emissions by 85%. Autoneum recently launched a 100% recyclable carpet from recycled PET.

Cars will talk and act as our support & safety system

Imagine if vehicles could talk, share data, and warn drivers of potential blind spots or disabled vehicles or whether it’s safe to enter an intersection. 

Vehicle-to-X technology will make cars more connected, where X could be another vehicle, infrastructure, device, network, or even your electricity grid. HAAS Alert, a company that develops vehicle communication platforms, in January’24, showcased the world’s first cross-brand car-to-car communication capabilities between Volkswagen and Stellantis vehicles. Many automobile OEMs are adding V2V tech to chat with each other, but they still need a common language to understand one another. Additionally, Electric car batteries could soon store extra energy when there’s it’s in surplus and then send it back to the grid to power homes during blackouts! This tech, called Vehicle to Grid (V2G), is still being tested but has much potential.

Lastly, Intelligent, sustainable cars are a close reality

Imagine your car as a super-powered learner driver, constantly taking in information and making decisions. Researchers are developing AI that uses cameras, radar, and special laser technology- LiDAR to see the road better than any human driver and make safe decisions in tough conditions like bad weather. 

While many challenges remain, the transportation industry is focussing on clean energy and eco-friendly materials to fast track to a greener and safer ride. The future of transportation looks electric, sustainable, and connected! 

. While Cruise is facing a temporary setback, they’re still progressing. Other companies like Aurora are even looking at ways to put AI into different vehicles. The Aurora Driver is designed to enable any vehicle type, from passenger sedans to class-8 trucks, to move safely and autonomously. 

(Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited).

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