3D Printed Cars

What Can We Expect from the Future of the Auto Industry?

Recent collaborations between car manufactures and software makers have made the automotive industry one of the most interesting fields to follow over the past several years. There is a ton of speculation about where the industry will go over the next few decades, with giants like Google placing their bets on driverless cars. However, with problems like these, perhaps the trend will shift elsewhere.

Augmented Reality

Rather than moving away completely from driving our own vehicles, perhaps we will simply see more of an evolution on systems like assisted parking, cruise control, and adaptive lighting that makes driving easier. One of the ways we could see this is through augmented reality systems displaying a heads-up display, or HUD, that shows us important information.

Companies like Land Rover recently demoed this kind of technology at last year’s New York Motor Show with their Discovery Vision concept. Using cloud technology, the HUD might display information like how many parking spaces are available in your immediate vicinity, how much further you are from your destination, and the cost of fuel at the next station. The company also presented a so-called “Ghost Car” system that presents a virtual image of a translucent vehicle in front you. You can then follow this image to your destination as if you were taking instructions from a sat nav.

3D Printed Cars

3D Printed Cars

As well as speculating on the new ways we’ll drive in the future, it’s also worth considering the manufacturing processes that could come to power. 3D printing has been dubbed the future of the manufacturing process, but some may be wondering if it can handle larger scale production tasks. Incredibly, this is already happening now as an Arizona-based company called Local Motors is already creating a 3D printed car that it plans to move into full production by the end of the year.

With a price between $18,000-$30,000, the vehicle will be made in what the company has dubbed “micro factories,” 40,000 square foot, crowd funded facilities that the company aims to set up across the United States and potentially around the globe. While a traditional automobile is made up of close to 35,00 parts, this vehicle, named the Strati, is comprised of just 47.

How do you feel about the way the technology industry and the automotive industry are becoming so intertwined? Is it simply a natural progression or a potential cause for concern? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.