Addition seems to have become a standard of automotive design. Add features, add space, add power, add safety, and you end up with a better car right? Consumers have proven that more is usually better when it comes to new cars. In the midst of all the "more", don't be surprised to see a little less of a few things we have become familiar with. Five things come to mind that might become all but obsolete, thanks to improving technology and constantly changing market trends.
Found in virtually every car on the road today, buttons (and I'll include switches too) have become an integral part of the way we interact with and control our vehicles. How then, can we get by without them? Think about the way we use computers and phones today, compared to what we were used to even 10 years ago. Touch sensitive pads and screens like those found on mobile phones and PC's have already made their way into modern vehicles. Expect these to begin to dominate the dashboard and console surfaces in the next generations of vehicles. Continuous improvements in voice command could mean that all we'll have to do is talk to our cars and they will keep us comfortable, entertained, and on route.
2. Gas Tank
You don't need to crawl underneath a car to know whether or not it has a gas tank. It's pretty safe to assume that almost every car you will see runs on some type of petroleum fuel. With a big increase in plug-in electrics cars expected for the next decade, however, gasoline and diesel-powered cars won't necessarily be the obvious choice anymore.
Remote key-less entry and push-button start are nothing new. Technology allows some drivers to unlock and start their cars just by being close to them (provided the "key" is in their pocket). The absolute need for a physical keyed locking mechanism remains only for the event of power failure. Who knows, maybe someday the sound of your voice will be the only way to unlock your doors.
4. Spare Tire
Research is already in motion to develop tires that don't require inflation, and can't go flat. While prototypes have been produced and tested, comfort, durability, cost, and manufacturing methods are still being proven. Although they have a long way to go before they'll replace traditional inflated rubber tires, these new wheel skins may someday free us from the hassle of having to change a flat on the side of the road.
Like me, you probably use your rear and side view mirrors every time you drive your car. I'd feel just s little bit insecure without them. Several auto makers have already begun to provide the option of a rear view camera to supplement the mirror. I don't know of any production cars that use a camera to completely replace the mirror, but it's not out of the question. The technology is available. Strategically placed cameras and monitors could, in theory, completely remove your car's blind spots.
What common car components do you predict will become extinct in the next 10-20 years?