For the better part of automotive history, vehicles age as well as the parts. If you take care of the parts, replace elements that begin to wear down and put in the necessary elbow grease, a vehicle can last you potentially decades. Future cars will vary just a bit from this. While you will still need to replace parts just as you would today, future vehicles will need to grow and adapt in order to stay relevant, similar to what a high-end piece of technology might (such as a smartphone). As technology and information changes, some vehicles may become obsolete or need complete hardware overhauls in order to function within the new automotive ecosystem. Due to this, cars of the future will become a living platform.
Internet access on vehicles is growing in popularity but often times it is an additional purchase feature. You may even need to pay a monthly service fee to maintain this Internet connection. While it does give you the ability to connect portable devices to a localized Wi-Fi network, it comes with other benefits as well. Through the Internet connection your vehicle can update firmware within the touchscreen dash board and other areas of the vehicle. Future vehicles will take this a step further. The vehicles will need to update to stay current with new regulations. This may alter fuel efficiency speed settings or even how the engine functions.
Two vital areas of the automotive industry need to improve rapidly in order to allow for a fully living platform inside of a vehicle. For one, internal technology within the vehicle needs to improve. The potentially bigger issue is the infrastructure required to handle hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of vehicles on the road. In the event of an ambulance driving past smart cars, the vehicle throws in a new variable into the mix. The infrastructure must be able to signal the other vehicles on the road, informing the cars to slow down, move over and even stop. While vehicle to vehicle communication will grow, a strong data network capable of handling this many users at once is needed as well.
Cost Will Play a Role
The auto industry is currently looking at different ways to update vehicles while parked or on the road. A major factor here will simply come down to what costs less to maintain and implement nationally.