Over the past decade, we’ve seen many technological advances. From the Curiosity landing on Mars to virtual reality systems, things are beginning to look a lot like something straight out of Back To The Future 2. Even things like the Apple iPod, Amazon Echo, and smart home technology have positively impacted our daily lives in some sort of way.
One place where technology is just starting to take off is the auto industry. In fact, we’ll see more electric cars than ever before launch this year, plus more and more vehicles are coming with tech packages that sync with our smartphones as part of the base model inclusions. Because of all of these continuous advances, the one question on everyone’s minds is this: What will cars look like by the start of the next decade?
While we definitely won’t be flying around like The Jetsons by 2030, we will see some serious changes in how we operate vehicles within the next 10 years. So, buckle up and prepare for changes, because we likely won’t see the following items in cars anymore by the year 2030:
Traditional keys have been falling by the wayside for the past decade. Thanks to key fobs, sensing technology, and even keyless ignitions, traditional car keys will prove less and less necessary as we maneuver through the 2020s. In fact, you probably won’t receive any sort of keys at all for your new car by the time 2030 rolls around.
Let’s be real: We all really have a love-hate relationship with sun visors as it is. While it’s impossible to drive with the sun blinding you, visors never really block it all out (not to mention they cause other issues). However, smart glass will soon allow drivers to control the amount of daylight that enters their cars with a simple touch of a button. No more visors, no more issues!
While side-view mirrors currently help us see who is beside us when preparing to turn or change lanes, they’re already starting to figure that stuff out for us. Many side-view mirrors now contain sensors that help with detection and alert drivers when something is in the way. As these sensors become more sophisticated and as other technologies take over, it’s a sure bet that side-view mirrors will become obsolete.
Gasoline-fueled internal combustion engines have been around since cars really started selling. While they’ve proven to be the best way to propel cars and keep them going long distances, environmentalists are really pushing for clean energy and clean cars to be a thing. In fact, experts predict that we will see an exponential increase of EVs hit the road in the next decade.
Here’s the deal: Front grills solely exist for engine cooling purposes. However, as we mentioned, EVs are really taking over the market, which means less need for gas engines and, ultimately, less need for front grills. While that may make some sad, most of us will be glad to see them go. In fact, it might help cut down on the smell when we drive by a skunk!
AUDIBLE TURN SIGNALS
When audible turn signals first came out, they served a very clear purpose: to remind us all that our bleeping turn signal was on! However, since most cars now automatically turn them off once the wheel turns or after a certain amount of time, they seem far less relevant. As cars become increasingly automated, expect that annoying click to disappear.
Just like with CD players, far fewer people tune into traditional radio stations these days. Just like AM radio stations declined by the 1970s, all radio use will disappear by the time we hit the next decade. After all, why deal with radio announcers when you can just make your own Spotify playlist?
If you’ve been driving a while, then you’ve probably drained your battery at least once because you forgot to turn your headlights off. Now, many cars use sensing technology to automatically turn on and off vehicle headlights. Because of this, there’s far less need for us to manually switch our headlights with switches and knobs.
Cars from the 1990s had so many adjustment knobs all over the front dash because everything from radio tuning to your heat and air was controlled by knobs and switches. Thanks to touch screens and voice recognition, we can control far more things in our cars now without all those twist knobs and flip switches. Expect them to all but disappear by the turn of the next decade.
12V ACCESSORY PORT
More commonly known as a “cigarette lighter,” these ports have been a standard part of vehicles for quite some time. They stopped including the actual heating element for cigarettes as smoking has declined in recent years, but people still use these ports as an auxiliary power source for everything from portable CD players back in the day to cell phone chargers now. However, more and more cars come with USB ports included, which reduces the need for this port. Expect them to vanish soon.
Key fobs were really impressive technology… when they came out in the 1990s. However, do we really need these clunky things now? With all the advances in smartphones and sensing technology, not really. In fact, most car companies are now adding smartphone functionality to at least some models, meaning we will all be able to unlock our cars from our phones in no time at all.
For years, halogen headlights have dominated the market and proven the best technology for lighting up the roadways at night. Thanks to LCD and now LED lights, though, these bulbs are starting to burn out (literally and figuratively). Halogen headlights will probably be another thing of the past by the time we get to 2030.
HYDRAULIC POWER STEERING
While hydraulic power steering has been standard for a while now, more and more automakers are starting to move towards an electric power steering (EPS) model. The main reason? Electric power steering actually increases fuel efficiency slightly. Although some drivers complain about the feel of EPS, the experts at Car & Driver say that the technology has improved a lot in recent years.
REAR-VIEW MIRROR DIMMER SWITCHES
Remember when we discussed that whole concept of smart glass helping automakers phase out sun visors? The same could be said for rear-view mirror dimmer switches, another annoying car component we currently need to help reduce blinding light in our eyes. At least maybe new smart mirrors would help us actually use our rear-view mirrors at night?
MANUAL SEAT ADJUSTMENTS
We’ve seen a slow phase out of manual seat adjustments since the mid-1990s, but some base model cars still come with levers and slide bars on their seats. However, with more and more automated car systems and the low, low price of electronics these days, expect manual seat adjustments to phase out from a cost perspective over the next decade.
What happened to the days of full-size spare tires, amiright? Now we’re lucky to even get a donut! In fact, more and more cars are cutting down on space requirements and boosting fuel efficiency by substituting fix-a-flat for spare tires. Let’s just hope the number of available tire shops increases in the next decade, too?
Radio stations are disappearing, which means that the need for massive antennas is also fading away. Smartphones help us connect to the world without those tacky tassels hanging off our cars anyway, so what’s the point? These bad boys will leave cars with AM/FM radios, and we really won’t be sad to see them go.
You may think that self-driving cars sound far-fetched for the next decade, but we’re a lot closer to being there then you’d think. In fact, researchers at Savvy Sleeper found that nearly 60 percent of people want their next vehicle to be at least semi-autonomous. What’s more, people seem more worried about drowsy drivers than autonomous vehicles on the road. Who knows, autonomous cars could help prevent auto accidents.