Technology has changed how we work and communicate with each other and now, even how we move around.
As it stands, almost every car manufactured within the last two decades has a computerized engine and brake controls while some models even come with top-of-the-range digital navigation systems.
With the need to conserve our environment, it is not far fetched to think that we’ll be driving electric cars in the future, which will probably be self-driving too. That the Internet of Things is set to completely revolutionize modern human civilization is inevitable.
For most motorheads though, the question is, what is the future of cars? Most importantly, what will cars be like in the future?
The Rise and Rise of Autonomous Vehicles
The last ten years have seen our collective opinions on self-driving cars go from “will it really happen?” to “whoa, this is the future”. Surprisingly, the autonomous motor revolution was led by Google, who through their subsidiary Waymo, started the first self-driving car project. It wasn’t long before other tech giants like Intel and Apple also started their own projects. As of September 2018, Apple had more than 70 autonomous vehicles in California. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have also not been left behind and have developed their own autonomous models as they seek to reduce human driver costs.
Self-driving cars will save us all the hassles associated with driving as well as reduce accidents caused by human carelessness. There are, however, concerns about the effects of these new cars of the future on jobs in the auto industry as well as the state of our roads. There are also safety concerns, with both civil and government agencies expressing their doubts about the safety controls of existing self-driving cars. This is in light of recent events where more than 50 accidents involving autonomous vehicles have been reported in US and European cities.
Nonetheless, we can confidently say that we won’t be seeing lots of autonomous cars on our roads for the next foreseeable future. First, there are lots of safety and legislative hurdles as mentioned above and secondly, most people don’t trust self-driving cars and would rather stick to their human-driven machines.
Ever since global warming went from a scientific perspective to a painful reality, governments and even private industries have turned their momentum towards eco-friendly and sustainable production. The conversation across the automotive industry, one of the largest contributors to pollution, has revolved around making cars more green and efficient. The result is a potential shift from gas-powered engines to electric motors. Electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries which can be recharged either privately or in public charging stations.
The companies leading the electric motor wave are Nissan and Tesla, whose flagship electric models, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model S are the highest selling models in the world. Again, not many people have been receptive to this concept, with only about 3 million electric cars sold. This, however, has little to do with loopholes in the idea itself but with the human nature of being opposed to change.
Notably, manufacturers are experimenting with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which are fueled by both electrical power and regular gas. These type of cars are considered more versatile and with more mass appeal than the strictly battery-charged models. So, it’s safe to say that the cars of the future will probably still have engines but not as the primary source of power but as support to the electric motors.
What Will Cars Be Like in the Future
With everything said in this article, you can’t help but wonder how exactly cars will look like in the future. Apart from the highlighted changes, we also expect fewer people owning personal vehicles in 20 years time. According to the USA today, fewer millennials are interested in owning cars or acquiring driving licenses. This is an indication that mass ride-sharing, or rather, vehicle-sharing is not far off. And we don’t mean the ride-hailing ways of Uber or Lyft but more dynamic systems where car owners will lease out their cars or offer shared experiences with interested people.
In future, car brands will also look much more different with manufacturers partnering more with tech companies to create more modern, digitized models. Expect vehicles that are more connected to external networks and systems and which have highly responsive self-diagnostic, control and navigation systems. Heck, we are not that far away from vehicles that will be connected to our phones and computers and which will remind us of meetings and even advise on most fuel-efficient routes based on information from multiple data points.
There is no doubt that there’s a tech-driven revolution wafting towards the auto world. As with every other revolution, there will be casualties and beneficiaries, but it certainly will be great to see, and experience. Will all cars be electric in the future? Maybe, maybe not. Will cars (and pigs) ever fly? Ditto.
Liked the article? Got a question? Chip in with your thoughts in the comments below.
Author’s Bio: Scott Pine is a team building coach in the social marketing sphere, expert in life insurance company, traveler and car lover. Follow him on Twitter.