The automotive industry is making giant strides towards technological developments, and over the years, vehicles have become smart. Audio systems don’t just play music, and cameras do more than help drivers reverse. Also, vehicles are getting cleaner with numerous EV launches in the two, three, and four-wheeler segments. If 2021 was exciting, the following year promises more. Here are five automotive trends to watch out for in 2022.
- EVs and alternate fuel vehicles
Currently, there is an electric vehicle in every segment — scooter, motorcycle (Revolt), hatchback (Mahindra e2O), compact sedan (Tata Tigor), compact SUV (Tata Nexon), SUV (MG ZS EV), and numerous high-end premium offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Audi, and BMW. This list is expected to grow even more as manufacturers are looking at launching affordable, mass-market EVs. MG is one such brand as the company recently made the announcement.
Apart from EVs, alternate fuel vehicles are something the country hopes to see soon. India is betting big on hydrogen fuel, and many companies are gearing up to manufacture hydrogen in India. Also, many industry experts believe that large commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks will be the first to transition towards hydrogen since it suits the application better.
- Vehicle safety
Vehicle safety is becoming a selling point for carmakers. With NCAP performing tests specifically for India, vehicles such as the XUV700, Tata Nexon, Altroz, Mahindra XUV300, and more have scored a five-star rating. Adding to the vehicle structure itself are the passive safety systems such as airbags, stability control, seatbelts with pre-tensioners, and many more that reassures occupants are becoming increasingly common.
Also, the announcement by Nitin Gadkari to make six airbags mandatory for vehicles is a welcoming move. Some vehicles already have six airbags, some offer it with their high-end variants, while others offer it across the range. When the rule comes into effect in 2022, vehicle safety will see a significant improvement.
Advanced driver-assistance systems or ADAS is a hot topic in the automotive industry. Mahindra launched its first mass-market vehicle with ADAS and MG was hot on Mahindra’s tail to launch the Astor with the same level of safety. The XUV700 and the Astor both feature adaptive cruise control, high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, amongst others.
OEM suppliers like Continental are making these safety systems more affordable and since Mahindra and MG have brought ADAS systems to the mass market, expect other carmakers to start offering the same.
- Connected car tech
Connected car technology can be seen as the future of automobiles. The infotainment system and sim card have paved the way to technological advancements in vehicles where you don’t only operate in-car functions with a smartphone but do a lot more. MG took the connected car features to a new level with the Hector, and then set the bar really high with the Astor.
In the MG Astor, one can book parking slots, navigate to a destination, use its digital passport option to store vehicle records, service history, and more; have access to music, and even search Wikipedia. The Astor offers over 80 internet features.
- Personal Assistant
Again, MG offered the industry’s first car with a personal assistant (PA) that the driver can actually have a conversation with. MG’s AI-powered PA can tell you jokes, look up Wikipedia for information when asked, and even look at you when spoken to. MG says that the PA will learn over time, making it an interesting feature that other carmakers will soon offer.
Continental is working on AI-powered Chatbots that will perform similar functions. For those thinking that it might be a distraction, it actually isn’t. PA can help the driver keep his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel instead of fiddling with buttons. You can read more about the AI Chatbots Continental is working on here.