What did they do wrong to reach such an inaccurate prediction? Firstly, they based their future predictions on their (then) current perceptions of a car. Secondly, they didn’t accommodate exponential growth cycles in technological growth, which resulted in the vehicles we see today. So now, let me ask you: what do you think our future cars will be 30 years from now?
Below I’ve provided five different features that’ll (more than likely) appear in your future car, which I am basing on both exponential technological growth and on current innovations being pursued by several different organizations and companies throughout the world.
1. They’ll Be Autonomous (Self-Driving)
The first major prediction to be made of your future car 30 years from now is a fairly simple one. Every major car manufacturer in the world today are aiming their sights towards autonomous vehicles. In fact, I believe it’s prudent to mention that all automotive-based industries around the world will likely be using autonomous vehicles by the 2020s.
Just a few months ago Tesla Motors surprised all owners of a Model S with a brand new update – AutoPilot! What this essentially did was give every owner of a Model S semi-autonomous capabilities (with certain limitations), which will help drivers ease their way towards a very near future of fully autonomous vehicles. As companies like Google and Apple push their way towards perfecting their autonomous vehicle projects, expect every other automotive company to follow suit.
2. They’ll Solely Rely On Renewable Energies
The era of gasoline-reliant vehicles is slowly coming to an end. In its place will likely follow that of Tesla’s model of energy reliance – electricity. Of course, electricity is mostly acquired via coal, which is in no way a renewable energy. Which is why Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has been increasingly emphasizing on solar energy technologies, to which he’s even co-founded a company that is helping push solar energy forward in a revolutionary way – SolarCity.
Subsequently, Tesla had unveiled last year their latest new product (which wasn’t a vehicle) called the Powerwall, which is a solar-based battery that is capable of producing an abundant amount of energy for your home, including the charging power station for your electric car. It then shouldn’t come as a big surprise to hear that, as a result of their recent emissions scandal, Volkswagen has announced they’ll be transforming their vehicles into becoming electric as well.
To top it all off, during last year’s World Solar Challenge in Australia, Dutch students from Eindhoven University of Technology had competed their solar-powered vehicle – the “energy positive” four-seater Stella Lux – during a 3,000km race from Darwin to Adelaide. Needless to say, in 30 year’s time, every vehicle will be based on today’s efforts by several different automotive manufacturers who are increasingly abandoning gasoline and instead are looking towards the sun.
3. They’ll Be 3D Printed
When it comes to exponentially growing technologies, there’s only a few that come to mind which even outmatches the exponential growth of 3D printing. What started off as a slow-riding technology, which could barely print out small objects half the size of someone’s fist, 3D printing has taken the world by storm with its more recent extreme acceleration in efficiency and affordability. Today 3D printing is being used in the medical industry, architecture, food, and, yes, even automotive manufacturing.
Just a couple of years ago automotive manufacturer Local Motors made a surprising announcement when they unveiled the world’s first 3D printed car – the Strati! Other than its motor, battery, and wiring, the entire car was 3D printed and it only took the company 44 hours to print. The company says they’re now aiming for 24 hours and are offering reservations for anyone who’d like to purchase their own personal 3D printed vehicle sometime in the near future. Given the rate of growth of 3D printing, expect mass production of 3D printed vehicles sometime between 2020-2030.
4. They’ll Be Customizable (Due to 3D Printing)
Thanks to the advent of 3D printing, one other feature will make headway in the development of future cars 30 years from now. In fact, if all goes according to plan, this feature could very well become mainstream in less than a decade! What I’m talking about are customizable vehicles. In other words, due to the fact that cars are beginning to be 3D printed, people will soon be able to customize their future cars however they so desire. Think of your future car as something similar to LEGOs – 3D print your custom piece and snap it on your car, all within minutes!
As a matter of fact, earlier last year Japanese-based automotive manufacturer Toyota announced the first ever service for its customers to begin customizing their vehicles using 3D printers. Known as the “Open Road Project,” Toyota envisions a near future where vehicles will be as unique as the individual who’s driving it. For now, this project is only being done using Toyota’s super-compact electric vehicle, the i-Road. Soon, however, it isn’t hard to imagine seeing other major automotive companies following Toyota’s lead and bring customizable, 3D printed vehicles to the forefront of automobile manufacturing.
5. They’ll Adhere to App-Based, Car-Sharing Services
Thanks to app-based, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the act of finding quick and affordable transportation has finally arrived. Of course, it isn’t without its own controversies. Firstly, taxicab drivers are becoming increasingly violent towards the idea that their services will soon no longer be warranted, due to the fact that people are now looking to Uber for transportation. Secondly, in the last year alone, Uber has had to deal with unfortunate situations regarding some of their drivers for a number of reasons. Because of this, Uber is now considering replacing their human drivers for autonomous vehicles in the near future.
Which is why, in 30 years time, I believe your future car will not actually be your car! Nope, cars 30 years from now will be autonomous and will adhere to app-based, car-sharing services. Because of their autonomous nature, the necessity of so many cars on the road, as equivalent to today’s roads, will decrease dramatically. Once you’re able to acquire quick and affordable transportation anytime you want, the desire to own your own car will become far less desirable.
After all, why buy your own vehicle, which would require you paying for your own insurance and repairs over time, when you can instead rent an app-based, car-sharing service under a monthly subscription? Cars 30 years from now will do just that – the “Netflix Age” of automobiles!
Photo Credit: BMW