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In this report

From driverless cars to smartphone connectivity, motor technology continues to advance quickly. But, while many futuristic features are now road ready, the industry still has a battle with bureaucracy and the challenge of convincing consumers

Innovators fight to win hearts and minds

While many of the latest technologies are ready to go, legislation and public acceptance are slower to get started

hydrogen refuelling station

Infrastructure: Shortage of electric points puts the brake on sales

Rollout of national charging networks remains slow

Volvo is developing object detection technology

Crash technology: Removal of the human element is key to safety

R&D now aims to avoid accidents completely

robot arms in a car assembly plant

Bodywork: Aluminium leads the race for greater efficiency

Formula 1 technology has been harnessed to reduce the weight of cars

Greener cars: Low demand puts pressure on the battery

Fuel efficiency means power cells are more important

Valmet Eva electric car concept interior

Technology: Young drivers want smarter options

The latest in on­board connectivity and entertainment needed if youthful buyers are to be attracted back

Motorcycles: Four wheels good, two wheels better

Sales boom in Asia and other emerging markets with income a key factor

Green developments: Work gathers speed on sustainable alternatives

Manufacturers form tie-ups to tackle regional differences

Low-carbon car factories stoke concern over the bigger picture

Some fear that Renault’s Tangier plant and others are feel-good gimmicks

flying car

Flying cars will soon be for sale

Road vehicles that take to the air will soon be in commercial production

2012

Electronic age forces wholesale rethink

Manufacturers are facing up to the risk of their products becoming increasingly marginalised

In-car technology: Feel-good factors to the fore in the connected cockpit

Consumer demand is driving developments in comfort and ‘wellness’, writes John Reed

Urban transport: Microvehicles on fast track to bypass megacity gridlock

Growing congestion is prompting radical innovation, writes John Reed

Manufacturing: Hopes are pinned on flexible modularity

Standardisation across models may offer big savings, says Chris Bryant

Financing: Incentives to buy play a bigger role

Basic loans are no longer enough to woo customers, says Chris Bryant

Vehicle design: Cutting-edge materials inspire creativity

Carmakers enjoy greater freedom and can adapt quickly to the whims of fashion, says John Reed

Collaboration: Electric challenges spark cross-industry connections

Rapidly changing technology requires new alliances, finds Chris Bryant

Hybrids and electric vehicles: Switch to electric likely to be slow

Legislation helps plug-ins move into the mainstream, writes John Reed

Engines: Technology throws convention into reverse

Smaller motors are in favour to help carmakers meet emissions targets, writes John Reed

Low-cost cars: Entry-level vehicles are engine of profit growth

The entry range is a big business and one of the sector’s most profitable areas, writes John Reed

Sound engineering: Noise technology has a surprising range of benefits

The science of noise cancellation is growing in prominence as a new generation of vehicles takes to the road, writes John Reed