The 5 most significant changes in automotive technology over the past decade

Today’s cars are almost unrecognizable from what they were in the past. Although the basics remain the same, modern vehicles are packed with cutting-edge automotive technology, which makes them safer, more efficient, and more convenient. Many of these now-standard features have only become mainstream in the past 10 years.

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Technology has advanced so rapidly that it can be hard to imagine life before still relatively new technology. Here’s a look back at five of the most significant changes in automotive technology that have changed driving over the past decade.

1. Autonomous driving

It is impossible to talk about recent automotive innovations without talking about autonomous driving. Although true self-driving cars are not yet a reality, companies have made tremendous progress in recent years. Many autonomous features, such as automatic emergency braking and lane correction, are now commonplace.

Automatic braking be the norm by 2022, which policymakers say will halve rear-end collisions. Many new cars also come with adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts speed to maintain a set distance from cars in front of you. As these features slowly develop, the future of driverless cars is getting closer.

Eventually, autonomous driving will be the norm. When this happens, roads can virtually eliminate accidents due to distracted driving. It’s a huge leap forward, and it starts with today’s standalone features.

2. Standard reversing cameras

Another automotive technology with a huge impact is the rear view camera. The first backup cameras appeared in vehicles in the early 2000s, but they were rudimentary and rare. In 2014, the Ministry of Transport made it a mandatory featurewhich took effect in 2018.

As simple as this technology is, it’s a remarkable improvement that overhangs your shoulder for backing up. Backup cameras offer more clarity, with plenty of features to measure distance or highlight obstacles. Even small changes like this have a big impact on safety, especially for new drivers.

Now that these are so common, it’s hard to think of a time before them. Yet they have only become the norm in recent years. Backup cameras probably won’t be going away anytime soon, as even self-driving cars will have to use similar technology.

3. Efficient engines

Most vehicles still run on fossil fuels, but even these are far more sustainable than their predecessors. This is thanks to the multiple technological advancements in car engines over the past decade. You may not have noticed these changes, but they have made significant progress.

For example, Chevrolet quietly big block engines removed in favor of smaller, more efficient alternatives circa 2014. Similarly, many newer engines feature more gears, allowing the engines to reduce their speed during highway driving and save fuel.

Over the past decade, engines have begun to feature more and more electronic systems that monitor and adjust performance. While you might not even see or notice these changes, they provide many small efficiency improvements that add up to big differences. As the world pushes harder towards sustainability, these advances are helping to make everyday life greener.

The F-150 has gone electric!

4. Affordable electric cars

You can’t talk about efficiency in cars today without mentioning the electric vehicle (EV) market. Not so long ago, electric vehicles were short-range and expensive, making sustainable transportation something few could justify. While electric cars still cost more than their gas-powered counterparts, many are still reasonably affordable.

New technologies have paved the way for these lower prices, and perhaps more importantly, lower lifetime cost of ownership. For example, some Tesla batteries can reach 300,000 miles without needing a replacement. New lithium-ion battery technology allowed these cars to go further with less power loss.

As technology has advanced, it has become cheaper to manufacture long-lasting batteries. As a result, electric vehicles are more accessible, enabling more people to drive sustainably. This change will have massive consequences in the future, as going green becomes more important.

5. Infotainment Centers

Most cars today have some sort of infotainment center on the dashboard. These offer a variety of features, from controlling your music to navigating to finding maintenance information. Although these convenient all-in-one hubs are now everywhere, this change is relatively recent.

It’s easy to overlook the value of infotainment centers, but they’re a remarkable step forward. Now any driver, regardless of experience, can research and understand their car’s maintenance needs. Likewise, drivers no longer need to read a map or pay for an external GPS to navigate unfamiliar areas.

Ten years ago, integrated navigation systems could cost $2,500, but now they are standard. Not only that, but the same place where you access this feature has dozens of other functions. In the future, infotainment centers could replace entire dashboards.

The last decade has dramatically improved automotive technology

Because technology advances so rapidly, it can be difficult to recognize groundbreaking changes when they occur. Whether many people realize it or not, the last ten years have been something of a renaissance in automotive technology. Transportation itself is being reshaped, and recent innovations are driving that change.

These five changes are not the only breakthroughs of the past decade, but they represent the most impactful. The future of road transport depends on these five innovations. From self-driving cars to all-electric traffic, the future starts here.

What do you think of these 5 impactful changes in automotive technology? Please share your thoughts on one of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our Page MeWe by joining the MeWe social network.

Last updated December 3, 2021.

Tesla Model 3


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Deana N. Guinn