Alternative Fuel Cars – The Future of Automotive Technology

The future of technology in terms of fuel consumption in the average automobile is slowly changing to allow for the development of more fuel economic, energy efficient, and even alternatively fueled vehicles alternatively fueled vehicles. While it may be a long time before alternative fuel cars are used as a commonplace means of transportation around the world, the technologies that may be used in place of the standard combustion engine are already reaching a form by which the average person may expect to see some of these technologies in their vehicles on the road very soon.

One of the technologies generating the most buzz in the automotive world is the possibility of using water as a way of powering a vehicle, and with good reason. Salt water, which is the type of water that has been used in numerous experiments about the viability of burning water as a fuel, is the most abundant natural resource available to us here on Earth, as we are almost seventy percent water on this planet. The experiments that have been conducted on the water have been somewhat successful on a smaller scale, but larger scale use in vehicles may be something that could be a long time down the road.

In the short term, the most viable automotive technology for alternative fuels may be electricity. Many automotive developers have been generating a lot of different methods of using electricity in a vehicle as an alternative to the use of fossil fuels to power transportation. While an electric car would be a great technology to have in a vehicle, the reality is that most of the electricity generated worldwide is done so thanks to the use of other non-renewable resources, like coal or natural gas. If an alternative means of generating electricity is also put into effect by generating companies, the viability of the electric vehicle would greatly increase.

Whether using water or electricity as the means of fueling the vehicle, the technology of an alternative fuel as a means of driving a vehicle can only be as effective if there is a commitment to mass producing the technology on a consumer level. If these vehicles are made with a price that can appeal to the average consumer, and at a level of technology that the average consumer can maintain, or at least understand, on their own, only then can the mass acceptance and use of these alternative fuels in vehicles be realized.

Significance Of Latest Automotive Technology

The last few decades have seen the advent of technology in all the spheres of life. The automotive industry is no exception. The vehicles have changed tremendously over the past decade. Vehicle manufacturers are always on the look out for new innovations to win over the customer segment. But are these new additions beneficial for a driver? The main purpose of this article is to discuss the pros and cons of the latest automotive technology:

Safety- With respect to safety, the enhanced technology has only complicated matters. In the good old days, the vehicles were not known for their speed. With the improvement in technology, the speed of vehicles has increased. But it has also lead to large number of fatalities in accidents, though technologies like shock absorbers and racing suspensions have been added to the vehicles for making driving safer and easier. Seat belt safety which became popular in the 1980’s, has certainly reduced the number of accidents. Enhancing the strength of cars is another strategy which has been adopted by various automobile producing companies.

Power Steering- In terms of power steering, the cars have certainly improved. Now, you don’t require to use power while turning cars. Also reverse parking is now a simpler process. So in this regard, you can say that new technology has generated a positive impact.

Improved side view mirrors- During the early days of the production of vehicles, the near side view mirrors were not fitted in the vehicles. But in all the contemporary vehicles, you will find near side mirrors. These mirrors are extremely helpful while changing lanes. This prevents road accidents and also makes driving easier.

Gear-less vehicles- Some people find it difficult to drive vehicles, in which gears have to be changed regularly. In order to aid such people, new vehicles which run automatically, with only adjustment of the speed being required have been invented. This innovation has acted as a boon for people with limited reflexes or senior citizens in the twilight of their life. Such people have also now got the opportunity to drive vehicles, whereas earlier they were dependent on public transport.

GPS Maps- This has been an extremely useful innovation. These involve road maps related to your destination, which can be viewed on inbuilt screens. This makes driving much more safer, as searching for an address in the directory while driving could prove to be hazardous.

Music systems and air conditioners- The new vehicles have music systems and air conditioners installed in them, which makes driving a pleasant experience. In the earlier vehicles, this facility was not available.

Auto Partnerships Resulting In Top Automotive Technology

Back in the days automotive companies would focus on their own individual projects. However, lately the trend is for major manufacturers to work together either with one another or with software companies in order to develop innovative new technology. The result are cars that are more efficient and technology that is more cutting edge than ever before.

A good example of partnership creation in order to open new markets is what has happened in China. That country, with the largest population on earth, became a major target of auto manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. At the same time, the Chinese government was taking major steps to develop that country’s own auto industry. Each side knew that they could help the other. So major partnerships were created between Chinese and European, American and Asian auto manufacturers. The auto manufacturers from Europe, America and Asia used the Chinese companies as a conduit to sell their cars in the Chinese market. In return, they assisted the Chinese auto makers to develop their own vehicles. Today China is the largest auto market on Earth and just about every major brand of car is sold there.

Next came the issue of new technologies. In the old days the auto manufacturers developed their own technologies. Now they are creating partnerships with such companies as Microsoft, Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav, ViaMichelin and others to help them create new technologies. The result, for example, are infotainment systems like the Ford Sync and MyFord Touch which was developed through a collaboration between Ford and Microsoft. Microsoft has since developed partnerships with other car manufacturers to help them create their own infotainment systems. These infotainment systems are using technologies developed by Gracenote, NAVTEQ, Nuance Communication, Sony Corporation, TeleNav and ViaMichelin. Gracenote is providing upgraded music entertainment, NAVTEQ the maps, traffic and location data for the navigation systems, Nuance Communications is offering the voice recognition technology so that the driver can control elements of the car via voice command. Audio manufacturers like Sony are creating the super sophisticated audio and audio-video systems that are now appearing in cars. TeleNav, known as the largest global wireless navigation services provider, is supplying the technology that connects navigation in the car to GPS. ViaMichelin makes the Michelin hotel and restaurant guides accessible to drivers and their passengers.

Auto manufacturers also have to tackle the development of new technologies that assist in improving fuel efficiency. So they have formed partnerships or joint ventures among themselves in order to share the cost. So we are seeing Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, partnering with Chinese battery and auto maker BYD to help in the development of electric vehicle technologies. PSA Peugeot Citroen is known worldwide as an expert in diesel technology. It has partnered with Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi to produce electric cars. Volkswagen partnered with Porsche to help the luxury car maker develop high performance engines that meet environmental regulations. Later Volkswagen acquired Porsche.

When auto makers finally decided to develop electric cars, partnerships were formed to develop the technology. General Motors and Ford joined with South Korean battery manufacturer LG to develop and supply them with the next generation lithium-ion batteries used to energize electric cars. Moreover, General Motors and Reva have partnered to produce a zero emission car for India. In addition, Daimler became the first major auto maker to buy a stake in Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer.

Volkswagen has purchased a percentage of Suzuki and Suzuki has acquired shares of Volkswagen in a move that is helping both companies. Suzuki is getting access to VW’s technologies and Volkswagen is using Suzuki’s expertise to enhance its small car production.

As a result of the recession automotive companies are working together and the results are spectacular. Let’s hope that this trend of team work will continue in the future.

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