Disruptive Tech: Latest Automotive Technology Trends

July 01, 2015

Latest Automotive TechnologyWhat if your car could drive itself? What if it could park for you? What if it never needed gas? What if…

“What if…” has been a phrase floated around the auto industry for some time now. Engineers, designers and manufacturers have been asking what the next big idea will be that will revolutionize the game forever. While vehicles experienced rapid growth and evolution more than 100 years ago, they haven’t changed a whole lot over the past few decades. With some new body work, they are roughly the same under the hood.

That has shifted recently, however. The latest automotive technology trends have altered how we get to work or school – and it’s changing our relationship to our own vehicles. This is what “disruptive technology” means. It is the tech that will redefine how we view driving.

Here are four of the latest automotive technology trends that are either taking hold right now, or set to come into play just around the corner:

1. The electric vehicle

Automotive Technology TrendsPerhaps the best example of disruptive technology on the road right now is the electric vehicle. From the Nissan Leaf to the Chevrolet Spark EV, electric vehicles have been growing in popularity over the past few years. The king of the EV remains the Tesla Model S, though. It has been setting speed records for cross-country road trips, it has proven to be a fun, reliable drive and it looks good while doing it. In fact, the Tesla Model S checks off all the boxes that you want in a vehicle.

It is disruptive because of its growing popularity. Given the rise of the electric vehicle, it’s not a stretch to expect more on the roads soon. And, if that trend continues, it could “disrupt” the industry so much that gas-powered vehicles become obsolete.

2. Autonomous vehicles

What’s one step farther than electric vehicles? Not driving at all. This is where autonomous vehicle technology comes into play. The self-driving car has also been in the news recently, mainly for its crashes in California. But, the technology does show promise. Testing done by major companies like Google have found moderate success, with self-driving cars being able to drive around a track, navigate corners and dodge obstacles.

Obviously, the attraction is there for drivers, too. Autonomous tech could mean you spend your commute on your laptop, not at the wheel. Self-driving could be used for long-haul trucking or a variety of other freight industries. It has the potential to be so disruptive that some day, we may never drive ourselves again.

3. Self-parking vehicles

A little closer to reality right now are self-parking vehicles. The next latest automotive technology trend on our list can actually be found in a number of vehicles already. Self-parking works by scanning for a large-enough space, then taking control and guiding the vehicle into place using sensors and cameras. It’s hands-off for the person behind the wheel.

“Want to park your car from outside your car?”

This piece of disruptive technology is getting even more hands-off, too. According to a PCWorld report, BMW is testing a new design that used a smart watch to control a test vehicle. The person in charge used an app to guide their car around a parking lot – all while outside the vehicle itself. It’s referred to as “remote valet parking.”


Alcohol-related driving deaths occur about once every 51 minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The disruptive technology that is looking to do something about this is being created under the DADSS program, or Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.

Started by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, the DADSS program is creating a wide range of tech tools to prevent drunk driving. One is a way to test a driver’s blood alcohol content and prevent them from starting their car. DADSS tech would be voluntary at the moment, but ensuring whoever is driving is legally sober is truly a disruptive piece of technology.

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