The automotive industry is evolving with testbeds, new concepts, innovations of engineering and super-cool technology. Every few years, we get to see a lot of interesting and surprisingly revolutionary designs whether we’re getting new shapes and contours, new engines, new fuel sources or radically different vehicles.

With the auto industry constantly in a state of innovation, concepts are becoming exciting, crazy and even a little worrisome. We’re going to highlight here some of the cool technologies that are on our radar, but make sure you understand how to protect yourself if you have a hackable car.

See what’s ahead from Kia, BMW and, of course, Tesla. We especially one automaker’s attempt to fix the age-old problem of parking in tight spaces!

What are new automotive innovations?

Kia K900 blind spot turn-signal camera

If you’ve ever driven with the modern back-up cameras, it’s a great feature, but there’s still plenty of blind spots around us. Kia’s K900 is looking to fix that problem with their blind spot turn signal cameras.

 

Related: Has your car been part of a manufacturer’s recall? 

 

When you turn on your blinker in the new Kia K900, a camera with a perfect view of your blind spot pops up on the digital dash. While this is a new feature, having the ability to keep your eyes on the road and see who’s next to you when looking to change lanes or turn, this is a feature of pure genius. Kia has clearly found a new feature and placement that shows how they’re slowing easing us into the future.

BMW changes the way we park in tight spaces

Ever wanted to remote control your car? Well now you can with this is a cool gimmicky feature. But do we really need it?

Gimmicks aside, I didn’t even know this was a thing or that the technology had been around since 2015 with BMW’s release of the G11 and G12 generation 7 series. BMW’s reason for the innovation was if a parking space is too tight that the driver can’t open the door, they can park their 7 series in front of the open space, get out of the car, and use the remote control to maneuver the car into the spot.

LISTEN: Cars are part of the internet of things, which means they’re vulnerable to hacks, breaches and failures. Take 20 minutes to listen to Kim’s take on the future of smart cars.  

After the car auto-parks itself, you can shut the engine off, lock the car, and you’re all set from the touch-screen key. I wouldn’t purposely be putting a car like that in a tight squeeze but if you want to play in the danger zone, who am I to judge?

Tesla takes autopilot to the next level of driving

Tesla, known for innovation and conceptual design has included one key feature of the future, autopilot. Tesla’s autopilot system is something we’ll be seeing a lot of in the next generation of automobiles with more autonomy and AI control. It really is seemingly something out of science fiction.

These cars using the autopilot system read lines on the roads using numerous cameras, radar sensors, and ultrasonic sensors. As it drives, it adjusts the steering with Autosteer+, accelerating and braking accordingly. While these concepts are seldom perfect out the gate, and the innovation continues, it still allows drivers to become a largely inessential part of the driving experience.

360-degree camera systems

As anything goes,  higher-end luxury cars generally get the fancy toys or tech innovations first, popularize them and send them down the market if successful. 360-degree camera systems are no different as these systems, regardless of function, all work similarly.

The vehicle’s infotainment computer combines the feeds together from the external cameras and creates one seamless image of the exterior. Some higher-end systems, for example, most of the vehicles showcased in this guide have this capability built-in.

Slowly these systems are being used to supplement the backup cameras for parking and could eventually replace them entirely in the future.

Mazda SkyActiv-X Engine combines free-revving with fuel efficiency

Mazda’s SkyActiv-X Engine basically is a next-generation gasoline engine that combines the free-revving characteristics of a gasoline engine with the fuel efficiency, torque and fast initial response of a diesel unit. It uses a proprietary Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) technology to be the first gasoline engine to use compression ignition.

This is rather revolutionary as the gas engine hasn’t really had much change in decades. The possibility for higher fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions is a great idea and interesting for the future of motor vehicles.

Americans love their cars. In the past, it was all about style and horsepower. Now, it’s all about the technology inside of a vehicle and what it can do. But is there a limit to how much technology is really acceptable? Listen to this podcast for Kim’s take on the issue. 

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