Better mileage, zero- or low-emissions vehicles, and driverless cars—these three transportation trends add up to increased car travel in the coming months and years. That’s certainly the message that came through this month at the 2015 International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Read on for the most exciting takeaways.
Hydrogen and Hybrid Cars
Can’t imagine a road trip when your electric car can only go 100 miles between charges? Think again. Hydrogen cars, which can go 300 miles without emissions, are on the rise thanks to Toyota, which recently announced that it would make all of its related patents available royalty-free in hopes of jumpstarting the market; their new hydrogen fuel cell Mirai can travel 300 miles on one tank of compressed hydrogen. Later this year you’ll also be able to cruise coast-to-coast in Chevrolet’s 2016 next-gen Volt, which drives 50 miles on electric before kicking into the gas tank for a similarly green road trip experience.
Futuristic Concept Cars
While they may not be coming out on the market in their exact exhibited form, this year’s prototypes carry a big wow factor. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 driverless concept car is a fully-autonomous luxury sedan decked out with safety-minded sensors and cameras that take 360-degree footage—the images can also be projected onto touchscreens that line the doors, for views that immerse you into your surroundings (you can swap highway traffic footage for something more scenic.) Also smart: a smartphone app that tells your car where and when to pick you up. Audi’s Prologue sedan concept car also drives itself—though you can reclaim control of the wheel yourself with the push of a button. Thanks to collaborations between Google and top automakers, you may actually see these, or similar models, on the road in the near future—as soon as 2020.
Tom Samiljan is Travel + Leisure's Tech Correspondent.