Switching Lanes In 2018: Three Predictions Shaking Up The Auto Industry

Future of Transportation

2017 is getting ready to come to an end, which means it’s time to look ahead at what 2018 has in store. For auto manufacturers, sellers, and insurers, this past year has been marked by continuing innovation toward self-driving cars, the increasing presence of electric vehicles, and further digitization of the car buying and ownership experience. As technology continues to evolve at what feels like the speed of light, the auto industry is in store for some exciting changes in 2018.

Infotainment Systems For Everyone

If connecting your smartphone with your vehicle’s media system is exciting, get ready for even more thrill in 2018. Additional and further improved in-vehicle infotainment systems will be ushered onto the mainstream auto market. These systems will be capable of delivering more than just information and entertainment, but enhanced content for navigation, internet searches, and media control like never before. They will also improve on current in-vehicle mobile device connection capabilities, and include things like voice commands for window and air conditioning controls, to create a completely hands-free experience.

213049 New Volvo XC40 interior
The forthcoming Volvo XC40 is one example of how infotainment is playing a larger role in car buying decisions. The compact SUV features 4 years of Volvo On Call and the ability to share the vehicle with trusted friends and family via a mobile app. Spotify, Pandora, and Yelp are available through the center screen, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Photo: Volvo Car Group.

More Freedoms For Aging Populations

For past generations, reaching an advanced age has typically been equated with handing over the keys to concerned family members. Starting in 2018, automated driving technology – a.k.a self-driving cars – will become more commonplace, giving older motorists the opportunity to continue enjoying their vehicles.

“Ultimately, the baby boomer car would drive itself,” Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of industry analysis at Edmunds explained in a recent Chicago Tribune interview. “It’s about mobility and to give this generation increased freedom. It’s really fantastic, something generations before never thought possible. When we talk to boomers, they’re really excited to see what’s to come.”

Still, new tech means uncharted territory. So while the increased availability of autonomous cars and in-vehicle infotainment systems are certainly exciting, the potential for it to fail or cause mishaps also increases. Smart consumers will want to make sure they have the proper protection plans in place to cover all possible bases when it comes to these new options – and smart companies will want to make sure they can provide them. Fortunately, third-party protection plan providers make great partners in this endeavor, as they have a deep knowledge of what these new technologies mean for the changing risk landscape in the auto industry.

Autonomous Ford Fusion Testing
Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years, and offers a broad portfolio of available semi-autonomous technologies on vehicles globally. Ford expanded testing of its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, with cameras, radar, LiDAR sensors, and real-time 3D mapping technology. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Telematics Decreasing Breakdowns & Repairs

2018 will bring with it the continued trend of leveraging consumer driving data to improve the car buying and owning process. More and more, consumers are comfortable sharing personal driving data, which gives auto industry providers the ability to better serve their customers. One way driving data can benefit end consumers is by proactively predicting potential issues, allowing drivers to make repairs before a quick fix becomes a major catastrophe.

This could potentially shorten repair turnaround time, as catching issues early could mean the difference between a single-day job and a week-long fix.

As technology trends in the auto industry advance at an especially speedy pace, expect to see some impactful changes in 2018. Connectivity systems, autonomous cars, and proactive service analytics are only scratching the surface of future auto technology.

Scott McLaren is the Chief Marketing Officer of Fortegra Financial Corporation, a Tiptree Inc. company. He once flew the Saturn VUE Lightship and awarded a Saturn Sky to Travis Pastrana for the first double back flip in the history of the X Games.