Technology moves at a rapid pace, but very few industries see advancements at the same speed as the automotive industry. Each year brings new innovations and advancements, and often, plastics make them possible. To help you know updates and upgrades you may see at the automobile dealership, our automotive thermoforming company in North Carolina is highlighting some of the latest car technology for 2022.
Of course, we’ve seen the concept of self-driving automobiles and testing moving forward for several years. With Tesla’s Autopilot software, their Model S was even capable of autonomous steering, braking, and adjusting speeds based on image recognition back in 2014. We have also seen a variety of driver-assist features, such as lane-departure warnings, cross-traffic alerts, and automatic braking become more commonplace. But now, we’re starting to see artificial intelligence and other advancements become more mainstream in vehicles.
Nissan is integrating more driver assisting features, elevating the functionality of cruise control to allow drivers hands-off capabilities in single-lane driving. Meanwhile, Ford’s BlueCruise in the 2022 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E automates steering, braking, and acceleration, allowing you to take your hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals on the highway, but you still need to keep your eyes on the road.
Exit Warning Systems
Improving safety and increasing safety features is a top priority for automobile manufacturers, and one innovation that is available in 2022 is the exit warning system called Safe Exit Assist. Found on certain Kias and Hyundais, this feature is designed to warn passengers of vehicles when a car or bicycle is approaching and prevent them from opening their door into a car or cyclist. Rear sensors spot a vehicle approaching and if it’s too close, the door won’t open and a chime will sound to alert the passengers. Once the danger has passed (literally), the door will open. This feature works whether the car is turned on or off.
Solid-State Batteries for Cars
Electric cars are designed to be a significantly more eco-friendly option than traditional gas-powered vehicles. However, most EVs (as well as cell phones and other consumer electronics) are powered by a lithium-ion battery that contains a liquid electrolyte that manages how energy flows between the cathode and anode. These batteries are more expensive, heavy, and are slow to charge, and, in rare cases, the liquid electrolyte can ignite in extreme temperatures.
Solid-state batteries have a solid electrolyte that can be made of glass or ceramic, making it more stable, lighter, and compact. This makes the battery safer and more efficient as well as longer-lasting. While solid-state batteries aren’t available in vehicles due to their higher price, several manufacturers are working on solid-state batteries for their EVs.
How Plastics Are Supporting Vehicle Innovations
While plastics make up around 50 to 70 percent of the material in a car, used for everything from trunk tubs to dashboards, they’re also being used in many of the innovations we’re seeing. Solid-state batteries encased in a lightweight, impact-resistant ABS protect the battery without adding weight, making it more efficient. Polycarbonate is used in a variety of sensors and display screens necessary for augmented reality because it is resistant to abrasions and impacts while also being less expensive and lighter than glass.
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