I often like to speculate about the future of the automotive world. Part of me is going to miss the giant gas guzzling cars of old. I personally have owned a Cadillac El Dorado, a Chevy El Camino, and a Ford Mustang at various points in my life. Another, possibly less lizard-brained part of me looks forward to a future of lower emissions and less accidents caused by human error that future technology will bring. In the year 2029, my youngest child will turn 16. On my 16th birthday, my one concern in life was passing my driving test and tasting the freedom that comes with being able to legally operate a motor vehicle on your own. Will my young son experience this euphoria or will the driver licensing process be a thing of the past? The future of transport looks both safe and exciting, with three major changes coming that will transform the way we get from point A to point B.
The first change to take place will be the prevalence of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. Currently, EVs only account for roughly 2% of vehicles sales each year. While this number is growing exponentially from year to year, concerns such as vehicle range and higher prices have kept many potential buyers away. Car companies are continuing to improve their batteries and electric vehicle infrastructure is ballooning. It is also predicted that by the year 2025, most EVs will be priced lower and be cheaper to operate than their gas-powered counterparts. Whatever the reason consumers have for not switching to an all-electric vehicle may all but be eliminated by 2029.
In addition to the electrification of vehicles, cars will also be connected in ways previously unimaginable. By remotely connecting to a centralized database through the Internet, cars will able to synchronize movements, thereby improving traffic flow and minimizing fuel and/or electricity consumption. Sensors mounted on cars will be able to communicate with road signs and other vehicles to increase safety. Car companies will even have the ability to “force” their vehicles to switch from gas to electric mode when in polluted areas as we previously reported here. Gone are the days of being alone in your car.
Vehicle automation is also set to change the automotive world. Cars of the future with automation features will move from simply assisting drivers (i.e. cruise control or Tesla’s Autopilot feature) to fully controlling nearly every aspect of driving. Accidents will be a thing of the past as human fallibility is taken out of the equation. Personal vehicle transportation will become a safer and more relaxing way to reach a destination, and the need for personal auto insurance will disappear.
These trends could also all but eliminate the need for personal car ownership. Experts predict that both governments and private companies will invest in fleets of electric, autonomous vehicles in the future. If these fleets were connected, they would be able to distribute themselves across a range of different routes to avoid traffic jams. Customers could order a car using an app on their phone much like they do with current ride sharing services, thus eliminating the need to have a car parked in the garage, ready to go at all times.
What do our readers think about the future of car travel? Will networks of autonomous cars ever be a reality? Will you still own your own vehicle even if you don’t have to? Please leave a comment below and let us know.
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