What Would The Future of Cars Be?
As the year draws to an end, Automologist ATHERTON ponders on the future of cars…
I, at times, ponder what world would my children and grandchildren live in. The car has come a long way since the days of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, and technology has helped it in so many ways, unimaginable during those days. The quest to revise and improve is so innate that it continues.
Every year, there are improvements in the automotive world. Some companies make incremental change while others “make a dent in the universe” (to borrow a line from the icon, Steve Jobs). ‘Disruptive technology’ has displaced established technology and shaken up industries, and ground-breaking products have created completely new industries. (Think Apple, Uber, Tesla, Google and Facebook.)
In recent years, autonomous driving is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. With hybrid and electric vehicles coming to the fore, autonomous driving seems to be next step in the automotive world. Heck, the very word ‘automobile’—automatic mobility—seems to suggest that we are indeed headed for the self-driving car.
Bussinessdirectory.com defines ‘automobile’ as a “motorized vehicle consisting of four wheels and powered by an internal engine. Automobiles are used to transport people and items from one location to another location.” It does not state that human beings are required to manoeuvre these vehicles.
However, for me, having a car is totally insane if I’m not piloting it. One might argue that travelling on a train or an airplane also doesn’t require the passenger to have control over it. But that’s the point. A car, to me, should be driven by the driver, and made solely for the driver as the end-goal. The driver has to have complete control of the car. Driving a car keeps you focused and alert.
Yes, there are times when we behave like complete lunatics behind the wheel. Driving around like a madman in a 2-tonne vehicle is like sitting in a tank ready to fire! The driver is responsible for the safety of the passengers as well as other motorists. However, with all the technologies in place to prevent mishaps, the car has the potential to become one of the safest modes of transportation known to man.
Now, what if cars in the future moved in the air and space, like in the movies Back To The Future or Star Wars? Why not? But I would want to be in complete control of one, and of course have the luxury to switch to autopilot should the need arise. And just like how we need to get a proper license, we should also need to get one that permits us to go airborne.
Would we be flying off into space with our cars soon? Or would we still be innovating to make things right? I don’t know when it will happen, but one thing’s for sure—it’s going to be exciting!