The future is here! Automotive technologies are getting more and more impressive as car manufacturers compete to put the most-advanced, tech-savvy vehicles on the market. Though some of these techy trends are already being explored, there is no question they will be taken to the next level in 2018. While progress is very exciting, there are concerns that come along with the process of advancement. Here are the pros and cons of three top technology trends that many are looking forward to within the automotive industry.

Electric Cars:

Electric cars are rising in popularity now more than ever before. Major automakers including Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota, Mazda and Ford have all pledged their desire to grow the electric car market and create a variety of vehicles built for mass appeal in the next few years. Tesla, who built their reputation on providing luxury electric vehicles and now the affordable yet “cool” mass market vehicle, the Model 3, triggered this popularity. While electric cars currently make up 0.4% of the auto market in the US, the category has seen a 17 percent increase year after year according to ABCNews.

The most obvious benefit of electric cars is that they do not use gasoline or diesel. This is a major ecological advantage. These vehicles release no tailpipe emissions and are better for the planet and air. Even though electric cars are eco-friendly, the practicality in owning an electric car is currently lacking. Not being able to take long road trips, scarcity in plug-in stations, and lengthy charging times are all reasons why someone would go in a different direction when purchasing a vehicle.

Another large concern for potential electric car owners is the resale value for their vehicles in the future. Since electric cars are advancing in technology every year, why would anyone want to purchase an old, out of date model that lacks functionality and probably needs a battery replacement? These are things for consumers who want to be eco friendly to think about and for automakers to consider as they try to encourage the growth of the electric car market.

Autonomous Cars:

The idea of autonomous cars cruising freely on the open road is both thrilling and terrifying. We see things like this in movies and dream about how awesome it would be to be able to sit back and relax while driving to our destination. According to Business Insider, 2017 was the biggest year ever for the progression of self-driving cars. Uber, Tesla, and General Motors blazed the trail and made actual growth on numerous business models, from autonomous ride-hailing fleets to consumer-facing highway autonomous systems.

The interest in the development of autonomous cars is rising as they seem to be the answer to many of the current dangers of the road. Auto Insurance Center states that 81% of driving accidents occur because of human distraction and error. Vehicles being controlled by a computer system would take a lot of the human error dangers out of the equation. They would create quicker commutes, fuel savings, and fewer crashes.

With the use of advanced computer systems comes many concerns about technology vulnerability. Could these systems possibly be hacked and taken over? How would anyone have real privacy with their moves constantly being recorded? Even with the elimination of human error this technology could experience malfunctions that cause accidents and risks. In these cases, who would be to blame: the driver, system developers, or car manufacturer? Automakers will need to answer these tough questions before autonomous vehicles become the new normal.

More Advanced Automotive Built-In and Heads Up Displays:

Cars become more and more like moving smartphones every year. The impressive built-in displays offer a driver capabilities that are extensive beyond GPS. Features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to make calls, receive messages, listen to music, and get directions from your built-in display. This is helpful as it gets drivers off their phones and looking forward towards the road. However, many claim this is still too much of a distraction for any driver to be dealing with. While some car manufacturers have disabled use of these infotainment systems when in motion, it is not enough. There are still thousands of accidents a day due to driver distraction.

Advanced heads-up display technology will hopefully be the answer auto manufacturers have been looking for in making driving experiences safer.  Forbes points out that active glass capable of displaying vibrant images, including navigation systems that highlights your next turn through your windshield as you approach it, could change the game in keeping drivers’ eyes on the road. When enhancing display technology, it is important for auto manufacturers to focus on being a solution to distracted driving.