5 Engineering Trends in 2020
2019 was another exciting year for the field of engineering. We saw industry 4.0 continue to shape the manufacturing, oil and gas, and power & renewable energy companies we work with. Artificial intelligence is helping engineers solve real-world data problems, and advancements in machine learning are expected to continue making an impact in 2020. As we embark on this new year, we‘ve decided to take a look at what could be instore for us as we move into 2020.
1. Self-driving cars
Considerable developments have now been made in the field of autonomous driving. In 2019, the number of electric vehicles in place worldwide increased by 64% from 2018. A large number of manufacturers are continuing to work on the technology so that self-driving vehicles can become reality in the future. Autonomous driving should become increasingly safe and comfortable for passengers. With a market size of $5.7 billion in 2018, the autonomous vehicle market is projected to grow significantly this year, leading to a large increase in opportunities for professionals across the industry.
2. Urban mobility
In addition to electromobility, the further development of urban mobility is also a major topic in the coming year. To improve urban air quality, the focus is currently on short-term solutions such as low emission zones and driving bans. However, since traffic will continue to increase in the future, urban mobility must become more intelligent. Therefore, car sharing solutions will be in the spotlight this year. Electric car-sharing services like BMW ReachNow and GM’s Maven will continue to add riders and grow in popularity. With these programs, people can rent an electric vehicle conveniently.
3. Battery technology
So far, the further development of battery technology has been rather sluggish. However, with the continuous improvement of cell chemistry, anode and cathode materials and high-yield manufacturing processes, it should be possible to reduce battery costs year after year with immediate effect - this positive trend will continue in 2020. Other alternatives to the current lithium-ion technology include miniaturized solid oxide fuel cells, microcapacitors, aluminum graphite, graphene polymer and gold nanowire technology. These could soon replace the "obsolete" battery technology.
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4. Optimized charging technology
The improvement of existing charging technology is one of the most important goals in the field of electromobility in 2020. Due to the limited capacity in the range of their electric vehicles, the majority of consumers are currently very limited. Even though electric vehicles for long-distance transport are much more environmentally friendly, they are not as comfortable as other vehicles because the battery has to be recharged every few hours. It usually takes at least half an hour to recharge. This is exactly what is to be improved in the future. Various manufacturers want to solve or at least reduce this problem worldwide by making fast-charging stations available everywhere.
5. Solar-powered cars
Solar powered vehicles are also proving incredibly interesting. Many car manufacturers are already working on making it possible to recharge car batteries while driving, which would be a major advantage over conventional electric vehicles. Currently, several interesting prototypes are in the test phase. In addition, some companies want to develop solar-powered hybrids. If they succeed, the global market for solar-powered electric vehicles could experience a huge upswing this year. However, the current models are very expensive. For example, the solar-powered long-distance vehicle called "Lightyear One" costs around $170,000.
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