2020: Cars of the future
No one knows what technological advancements the future holds or which direction the motoring industry will take but thanks to science-fiction movies and highly creative concept art we can all make our own assumptions. In the 80’s, predictions and visions of a highly technologically advanced future were rife in Hollywood. Classic movies such as Back To The Future and Blade Runner had everyone believing that by the year 2020 we would all be flying cars rather than driving them with our robot sidekick riding shotgun. But as the ‘future’ approaches, how far is that from the truth?
With the automotive industry investing millions of dollars in technology to keep up with competition, consumer demand and the constraints of modern society, let’s take a look at 3 ‘future’ developments which might make science fiction more of a reality in years to come:
1. Flying Cars
The dream of an automobile-aeroplane hybrid has been alive in the mind of engineers for almost a century with the first attempt at such a vehicle being accredited to a Mr Glenn Curtiss, who unveiled his (failed) Curtiss Autoplane model in 1917. Nearly a 100 years later, Mr Curtiss’s dream has come a long way and may not be too far off being a reality.
Paul Moller has spent 40 years and millions of dollars developing his Skycar. He is now very close to developing the first mass-marketed flying car. Moller Industries are currently in negotiation with 3 major car manufacturers, and if agreements can be met with the FSA, the first flying car could be available to us by 2020!
2. Vehicle to Vehicle Communication
The last 20 years have no doubt seen a massive communication revolution with nearly half the world’s population now connected to each other via the internet. Future technologies could see a similar revolution with the way our cars and other objects communicate with each other.
Industry experts have said that road safety is close to being completely reassessed with technology which enables vehicles to communicate with each other via wireless signals. If a car at a junction had run a red light and was in danger of crashing into your car for example, your car would pick up a signal and warn you or automatically break before a collision could occur. Such technology could potentially limit the amount of target vehicle crashes by up to 80% (source: Green Car Congress).
Another staple of 80’s future-noir, the concept of a fully automated self-driving car has long been considered by some of the motor industry’s most innovative minds. Through their work on this idea, we now have a number of mass produced cars which have the ability to park themselves in tight spaces. But the prospect of a car which can get from A to B with no driver assistance may be closer than you think.
Google have already road tested self-driving cars with high success rates over 200,000 miles of motorway and smaller roads and GM have recently tested their own self-driving concept models with great success. Although we may have to wait for other technologies to emerge which may assist the auto-pilot models, such as V2V communication, some experts are suggesting that we may see some form of self-driving vehicle hit the showrooms in the next decade!