What is the car of the future like?

The automotive industry is presently at an inflection in its technological progress. For the past 50 years (and arguably since the Ford Model T came off the Assembly line) every year auto companies provided incremental improvements from one model to the next and relied on expensive marketing campaigns to excite motorists. The next decade will be one of revolution, rather than evolution, in auto technology. Massively impactful innovation is transforming what we know of as cars in terms of safety, cost, environment and driver experience. The core of this innovation is based on three pillars: 1. Autonomous and self-driving cars. Autonomous refers to vehicles that can take over certain tasks from the driver, such as a present Tesla Model S or Mercedes-Benz S-Class maintaining its position in traffic by using the steering, throttle and braking without driver input. Self-driving implies no input required nor possible from the driver (or rather, passenger) but the vehicle making all driving decisions. The human can set the destination and practically go to sleep. Think Google driverless cars. 2. Electric propulsion. Renault-Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, GM and Tesla Motors are catering to a growing demand in electric vehicles. Tesla’s Co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, has stated the company’s mission is to bring down the cost of electric transportation and they have done so through a methodical release of fully electrical vehicles: a high-end expensive Roadster, the Model S premium sedan and the soon to be released lower priced Model 3. 3. Shared and shareable vehicles. A shared vehicle is much like a public transport or taxi, it is owned by an entity other than its users, who employ the vehicle for perhaps a single use. A shareable vehicle implies the main user of the car is its owner and he may choose to have the car turn into a taxi service while he does not need it. This could either mean the owner would be the driver (Uber) or in conjunction with self-driving technology, the car would venture out by itself and drive clients. The founder of BlaBlaCar has recently stated that the company’s goal is to have every car in the future be shared or shareable. These technologies will impact: Safety Road accidents are one of the most common causes of premature deaths, primarily as a result of human error (a large chunk being caused by intoxicated driving). Autonomous/Self-driving cars are expected to be an order of magnitude safer than their predecessors. This does not mean that no accidents will happen at all, but that their number will be greatly decreased. Even though a Model S in Autopilot mode caused the tragic death of its driver in May 2016, statistically speaking one death over millions of miles driven by Teslas around the world has resulted in less deaths than if human drivers were unassisted behind the wheel. The electric powertrain means there is no heavy aluminium engine block in the front of the car, allowing for a large collapsible area for frontal impacts. Arranging the battery cells in a horizontal platform on the base of the vehicle results in a low centre of gravity and lowers the centre of gravity of the vehicle, increasing its resistance to tumbling over. These are two of the factors that contributed to the Model S having attained a score in US safety tests higher than any other car ever produced. Low Cost Electric powertrain requires a relatively minimal number of moving parts, the Model S having less than 150 moving parts for the whole vehicle, while a typical combustion engine car would number a few thousand! Combined with the need for oil and liquid changes results in regular visits to the mechanic that quickly add up expenses. Shared vehicles mean eliminating the massive upfront cost in acquiring a car (it is replaced by a pay-per-mile driven scheme) and the cost of acquiring a parking spot near your residence. This is hardly different than a taxi nowadays, but the true financial difference takes place with shareable vehicles, as sending the vehicle out to transport clients actually creates revenue. Your personal car would no longer be a depreciating asset (losing value as the years go on) but instead would function as an apartment you are renting out. Experience Not having to obtain a driver’s license will spare countless expenditure of time, money and effort to the persons and the state. Self-driving technology could turn commuting to the workplace, presently being one of the greatest causes of stress in our society, into something to look forward to, for relaxing and working. Traffic congestions will be significantly reduced as vehicles can communicate and coordinate with each other to brake and start simultaneously. This would vaporize the lag between the different reactions of drivers, the main cause of gridlock. Additionally, the cars will be able to interweave each other in intersections thus eliminating the need for traffic lights completely (se

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