They believe that they will communicate with us, come complete with Artificial Intelligence and earn an income by renting themselves out while not in use via apps and digital keys.

Head of Gumtree Autos Jeff Osborne says it is no surprise that tech companies and automakers are joining forces in anticipation of the dawn of the new autos era.

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“There’s a definite race to innovate, particularly since the use of cars are falling out of vogue among the ever-important millennial age group. Companies are determined to develop the best-of-breed technology that will swing the market in their favour,” says Osborne.

These innovations include:

  • Volvo’s Car Tech Fund

Volvo Cars launched a venture capital fund targeting start-ups geared towards artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility. It has already invested in a company specialising in advanced sensors, building on its value proposition of putting safety first.

  • BMW, Toyota and May Mobility

BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp have both invested in May Mobility, a Michigan-based start-up that is developing a fleet of self-driving micro-shuttles. “Car ownership has become less desirable in the USA, particularly among a younger demographic that has grown up with Uber and Lyft. BMW and Toyota are determined to corner the new on-demand transport model.”

READ MORE: Why it’s a good idea to buy a car right now

  • Amazon takes on Google

Amazon has never been a car company, but it is determined to beat Google in the autos race. They have turned to open-source software in a bid to make voice-based assistant Alexa standard in vehicles. Logitech’s ZeroTouch dashboard mount already comes standard with Alexa integration, and allows drivers to play audiobooks, dictate shopping lists and send emails and texts while driving. Ford, Volkswagen and Volvo all announced Alexa integration last year.

  • Ford’s Pizza Delivery

Ford has long been a proponent of self-driving cars, but it’s added some flavour to autonomous vehicles by rolling out self-driving pizza delivery vehicles in Miami. This is not only a bid to provide a service, but a clever way of determining how customers like to use autonomous services.

  • The Honda NeuV knows how you feel

The Honda NeuV generated a lot of attention in 2016. The pod concept car comes equipped with Artificial Intelligence that can interpret and respond to the driver’s mood and emotions, and respond appropriately by playing preferred music or offering a word of encouragement.

“Most car companies are dipping their toes in tech, hoping that the avenue they pursue is the right one, but no one knows what the Next Big Thing will look like. It’s an exciting time for automakers and buyers alike,” says Osborne.