Sit back, belt up, and get happy as we speed you through the exciting car trends of 2016.
1) Siri, Take Me Home
Dreams of filing your nails and reading your emails “while driving” are fast becoming reality. Autonomous driving technology is coming your way, which means you could do more with your life while shuttling from point A to B, and expect a safer ride too.
The local authorities have already started trials on autonomous vehicles in parts of Singapore such as Gardens by the Bay, one-north in Buona Vista, and NTU. According to the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Authority (LTA), fully autonomous cars could be plying our roads legally in less than a decade.
Can’t wait? Shop around for a car that comes with semi-autonomous functions, such as radar-guided cruise control that adjusts driving speed in traffic with minimal driver input, and self-parking assist systems. Basically, it’s just a matter of time before we get to holler “Siri or OK Google, take me home”.
One wonders what kind of penalties would be imposed on the driver in the case of an accident? Who is responsible – the driver or Artificial Intelligence? Or what impact would it have on NCD and car insurance since there are no human drivers?
2) Electric Dreams
The electric vehicle (EV) is the motoring world’s new black, and Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks so too. A big crusader for clean energy, he posted recently on his Facebook page and received over 100,000 likes, when he talked about the alleged benefits of renewables. In the post, he offered a scenario where we had to choose between two rooms: Room No. 1 has a petrol-powered car and Room No. 2 has a car running on an electric engine – which room would you choose to spend an hour in without a gas mask?
As you contemplate the answer (seriously?), Singapore would do well to do some catching up on the side. Although there are a number of petrol-electric hybrid cars on the market worldwide, only one electric-powered model (the BMW i3) is available here.
Also, charging stations are to electric cars what petrol stations are to regular cars yet EV points remain in short supply – an infrastructure problem. If your crib were a private residence, you could install an EV point in it, but that leaves most of us HDB dwellers out in the cold. The fact that electric cars love to chill more than they work – with short driving ranges and long charge times – does not help. Until the day when EV points proliferate and electric power generation is standardised, we won’t get to join Arnie in Room No. 2 just yet.
3) More SUVs On the Road
Getting on your high horse is hip this year. We are talking about the SUV, that chunk of a ride that lets you ‘look down’ on everyone else on the streets. Throw in perks like being able to mount your bike onto it for an offroad weekend and barrelling down the street in an SUV is fun again – especially among the young.
Carmakers are not blind to this trend: Even luxury car brands such as Bentley, Jaguar, Maserati and Lamborghini are jumping onto the bandwagon, launching their own SUV models within the next couple of years.
If you were thinking of buying a new car in the new year, don’t forget to shop for your car insurance as well.
Mad about cars: