What if you could successfully teleport yourself to the end of the century? Would you write the history of the future reviewing the best and worst of the 21st century?
Well, a curiosity to know that future has been one of the greatest preoccupations of mankind. From the calendar of Mayan civilization and the prophecies of Nostradamus to daily weather reports and investment decisions based on stock market movements- all are, somewhere or the other, attempts to read into the unknown and speculate the future. For ages, scientists, philosophers and experts of virtually every industry have been pulling their hair out to predict the innovations and disruptions that the coming years are bound to bring with itself. The automobile industry is no exception.
During 1964, New York World’s Fair, Ford introduced its iconic car model, the Mustang that promised top performance to young Americans looking for excitement and style. The vision brought Ford millions of sales that year and cars, in general, became the symbol of individual expression and freedom.
Most of the cars today are manufactured on the basic engine model invented in 1986. But not for long. In an era that is witnessing unprecedented innovations and entrepreneurial ventures, the car industry is set to see massive changes that would redefine the industry for good.
The world is going on a green drive. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is leading the fleet by producing electric cars that can outperform best of every other segment. Consumers today show a greater inclination towards buying hybrid models. Ludwig Willisch, North America CEO of BMW, signaled towards this growing trend when he said earlier this year, “With the introduction of every new model, there will be a plug-in hybrid version of that, too.”
It is estimated that if all vehicles in America were hybrids that use batteries, US imports of oil would fall by more than 8 million barrels a day i.e. by 80% of daily consumption.
Having said that, it should be noted that hydrogen economy or water powered cars is still a distant dream. Producing hydrogen requires electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen cars mostly run on coal power. Hydrogen is also difficult to store and transport. These reasons make mass production of water powered cars inefficient and unfeasible in the present. The battery industry, on the other hand, is going to grow by leaps and bounds and turn into one of the biggest green-tech businesses.
Recently, Toyota announced to invest 50 million dollars into an artificial intelligence research project with MIT and Stanford University for making prototypes of automated cars. Google has already increased the production of its autonomous cars.
It is estimated that human error contributes to about 90 percent of all road accidents.
In such a scenario, autonomous vehicles equipped with artificial intelligence which can detect blind spots on roads and other potential risks are a welcome change. Undoubtedly, government will increase the regulations once driver-less cars are on the public roads. The transition period will be a tough test on both people and machines as regulating autonomous and non- autonomous vehicles in the same traffic will pose newer, unseen challenges. But at the same time, it is not be denied that automated cars hold great prospects of safer and smoother driving experience for the masses.
Apart from these two big changes, there are many additional technological features that are in the process to be introduced in four wheeler. Interactive safety systems and vehicle connectivity would change the status of cars from isolated, metal boxes on wheels to interconnected data units which would be able to monitor its own working and the safety conditions of the road simultaneously.
Recently there have been rumors about Apple entering the car industry. Though, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple has kept quite on the topic, he admits that there are ground breaking avenues waiting in the industry at the moment.
Going by the words of big players in the industry the future of four wheeler looks very promising. Investments are pouring in and it’s only a matter of time before the new age cars gear up. For the time being, hold your heartbeats and witness the history in its making.