Thursday, February 25, 2010

What will cars in 10 to 20 years look like?

I have been talking a lot about old cars, so let's for once switch topics and elaborate on how a car in 10 to 20 years from now could look like. This of course is very difficult and pure speculation.
Let's start with steering and control:
In 10 to 20 years technology will available to pick up steering commands directly from the human brains, so all these controls of today are not needed anymore. But at the same time computing power also will have exponentially grown compared to today, and every car will be part of a network and to a large extent self controlled. So, steering commands from the driver are only needed for setting the direction (i.e. the destination) and for taking a break or so.
Engine: Cars most likely will be powered by a mixture of electricity and ecological fuel, maybe improved versions electrical engines and of range extenders. Battery technology will allow to store a lot more energy with much smaller batteries than today. Traffic can be organized in a very condensed way, as cars communicate with each other and can queue almost like train wagons. This will allow both to use the space on roads better and to save energy. Most likely cars will be earth bound, there's no technology visible that allows them to go 90 degrees up or to fly. Design: But, how will they look? What will the shape of such a future car be like? Will it resemble the Lexus from the movie "Minority Report" pictured here? I doubt. Why would you create such a big car with so little space if usability and pure transport is the main driver? I would assume that cars will look more like the Mitsubishi MIEV, maybe a bit bigger and a bit more fashionable, or maybe like a Renault Espace with more 2030 flavor.

Now, do I look forward to such a car? Well, certainly not, if it's about having fun and feeling the adrenalin. For commuting this can certainly be okay, but if this is really the future, then I will cherish my classic cars even more from now on.

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