The last few decades have been defined by the development of new technologies such as the internet, smartphones, and social media. These technologies have completely changed the way people live, work, communicate, and shop. But the changes are far from over. There’s no doubt that new technologies with the potential to change the world will continue to emerge.

Here’s a look at some of the evolving technologies that may have the biggest impact in the year ahead:

Self-Driving Cars

The self-driving car has been a long time in the making. In fact, Google started to work on its self-driving car project back in 2009. But now, the world is closer than ever before to seeing self-driving cars on the roads.

Self-driving cars are vehicles with built-in cameras and sensors that can detect pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles, and other objects on the road. If an object is detected, the vehicle is designed to react to it in order to avoid a collision. For example, if an object is detected to the left of the vehicle, the system will not allow the vehicle to move into the left lane until the coast is clear.

The computer system is also designed to understand the rules of the road. The vehicle uses this knowledge to safely travel from point A to point B without violating any laws or getting into any accidents.

Self-driving car technology is not perfect yet. But experts believe that eventually, this technology will lead to safer roads, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and lower transportation costs.

Contactless Payment Options

In the past, people needed to present a card, check, or cash to pay for something. But that’s no longer the case due to the emergence of contactless payment options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Now you can store your credit or debit card information in a virtual wallet instead of carrying your cards with you in a physical wallet. If you need to pay for something, simply hold your phone close to the store’s contactless reader. This device is designed to extract your card information from your virtual wallet to complete the transaction.

You won’t ever have to worry about accidentally leaving your wallet at home again if you choose to use a virtual wallet. These contactless payment options could also protect you from encountering surfaces that could potentially be contaminated with COVID-19.

Personal 3D Printers

Personal 3D Printers

Most people have access to printers, which allow them to print documents or photos from their computer. But 3D printing will expand your at-home printing possibilities.

3D printing is an innovative technology that allows you to create a physical object from a digital model. All you need to do is build a digital model on a computer and transfer the model to a 3D printer. Then, the printer will construct the physical object using layers of plastic.

3D printing has been used to create everything from children’s toys to aircraft. If personal 3D printers grow in popularity, this will give everyday consumers the power to manufacture goods from their homes.

It will lower the cost of entry for entrepreneurs who want to manufacture a certain product but can’t afford to produce the product in mass quantities. Lowering the cost of entry may lead to an increase in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Smart Fabrics

Google has been experimenting with the idea of smart fabrics for several years, but many people believe that this could be the year where the idea of smart clothing finally comes to life.

Smart clothing is a term that refers to shirts, pants, shoes, and other clothing items that are connected to your digital devices.

For example, if you are wearing a smart shirt or jacket, you may be able to skip to the next song or answer a call on your smartphone simply by brushing your finger across your sleeve. This means you would no longer need to take your smartphone out of your pocket or handbag to control it.

This technology could also be incorporated into accessories such as backpacks and handbags. This would allow you to take a picture on your smartphone or adjust the volume on your headphones by pressing into your shoulder strap.

If this technology goes mainstream in the year ahead, it could completely change the way people interact with their digital devices. It would also create a new type of hands-free smartphone experience.

Commercial Space Tourism

Commercial Space Tourism

Astronauts are typically the only people who are sent into outer space, but this could change in the near future. Several startups have emerged in the commercial space tourism industry over the last several years. These companies aim to provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase recreational trips to outer space.

So far, the cost is steep. For example, if you want to go on Axiom’s 10-day trip to the International Space Station in late 2021, you must be willing to pay $55 million per seat.

Some of these companies intend to take paying customers on a trip to the moon, whereas others plan on remaining in Earth’s orbit throughout the trip. Either way, the idea of traveling to space on vacation is truly out of this world!

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a type of technology that transports users to a simulated environment. The user is completely immersed in this environment and able to interact with their surroundings.

Augmented reality, on the other hand, is a type of technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements onto their real-world environment. In other words, it allows users to blend the digital world and the real world together.

Both technologies are capable of completely disrupting the real estate, automotive, healthcare, and e-commerce industries.

For example, in the healthcare industry, these technologies are used to provide aspiring physicians with more hands-on training opportunities. Aspiring surgeons can use these technologies to perform simulated surgeries in an environment where mistakes don’t matter. Physicians also use these technologies to provide patients with detailed 3-D digital renderings of the body’s organs or systems so they can better understand their diagnosis.

As these technologies continue to grow in popularity, it’s safe to say that they will significantly change the world.

High-Speed Trains

It currently takes about three hours to travel from New York City to Washington D.C. by train. But new technological advancements could bring the travel time down to just 29 minutes.

Several companies, including Hyperloop and Virgin, are currently in the process of building and testing high-speed underground train systems. Virgin recently conducted the first high-speed train system test that involved passengers. The two passengers, who rode in pods inside vacuum tubes, were able to travel 500 meters in only 15 seconds.

The pair reached a peak speed of 107mph during their short journey. But eventually, the company hopes to reach speeds of over 600mph.

This technology could completely change the way people travel across the country and eventually, the world. It could also make it easier for people to commute to different cities for work daily.

New technologies will continue to take the world by storm in 2021. Although it is too early to measure the impact of any of these innovations, it’s safe to say that 2021 will be an exciting journey thanks to these emerging technologies.