Exciting Future Of Automobiles
New technologies will improve fuel efficiency, increase safety, aid navigation and repair.
Bend Bohn, of German auto components company, Robert Bosch Corporation, recently predicted that internal combustion engines will continue to dominate automotive market well into 21st Century. Automotive manufacturers have invested considerable time and effort in attempt to improve fuel efficiency in these engines, and they have been successful. In fact U.S.A. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimates engines have become 30 percent more fuel-efficient over past 15 years than previously. However gains have been offset by introduction of increasingly bigger and more powerful engines. The average engine in present industry is 63 percent more powerful than 20 years ago.
John Heywood, Director of Sloan Automotive Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates new technology will reduce fuel consumption by a third by 2020 and a half by 2030. Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and modern diesel engines are significantly more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts, but new technology in gasoline engines is also expected to reduce fuel consumption.
Next year, General Motors will begin introducing “displacement on demand” technology in their engines, reducing fuel consumption by eight percent by using only half their cylinders during most normal driving. GM predicts another 7 to 11 percent in fuel savings can be achieved through use of continuously variable automatic transmissions.
More advanced variable valve controls, already in works at BMW, are expected to further increase fuel savings, while Bosch has recently developed it Direct-Start system. The system allows engine to shut off while idling, but it instantly restarts as soon as driver touches gas pedal, igniting combustion mixture in fuel injections system without engaging starter motor. Bosch predicts fuel savings of 5 percent with Direct-Start system.
New and exciting automotive technology goes far beyond fuel economy improvements. “’I’ve been involved [with auto research] for more than 30 years, and there’s more action and more promise for improvement now than I’ve ever seen,” says Heywood.
New technology expected to hit marketplace within next decade:
1) Active safety systems will include radar and cameras that watch for danger. “We’ve put airbags just about every place you can.” Says Toyota Product-planning Manager, John Weiner, “Within next five years car will use algorithms to anticipate hazards and intervene or warn driver.