Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Future of Cars

By 2015 most cars will be powered by electricity from next generation hydrogen cells and longer lasting higher power batteries, using solid polymer electrolytes instead of liquid. These will be capable of being charged rapidly at the new electric vehicle infrastructure power outlets such as traditional fuel stations and garages, enabling simple recharging and replacement of batteries and liquid hydrogen storage.
Computer systems will increasingly control all vehicle functions as standard- including those already in use for navigation, entertainment, collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, anti-collision radar, safety crash protection, stability and automatic parking.

By 2020 in most larger cities, small efficient electric cars including single and dual passenger variations will be available for flexible and inexpensive hire for local transport needs via smart phone managed pickup pools, servicing urban neighbourhoods (Ref Future of Cities).

The major advance however will be in the form of fully automated cars, already being trialled- capable of navigating autonomously and guided by sensor/ processor embedded smart roads and transit corridors; obeying traffic laws and avoiding collisions with other objects and vehicles. They will also be capable of interpreting traffic forecasts and communicating via local networks with other vehicles and public transit corridors to reduce road congestion. In addition they will be responsive to passenger requirements, linked via the wireless Web to their passenger activity profiles- appointment schedules, regular destinations such as schools, child minding, leisure centres etc.

The car of 2020 will also be capable of providing and monitoring in-vehicle entertainment and communication, emergency assistance, scheduling and payment services for power charging, parking and security. Automated transit control will facilitate traffic streaming and congestion management, with specialised car, bus and cycle transit lanes in operation throughout most urban areas.

By 2030 most individual cars will have transformed into autonomous transport pods or capsules for individual and multiple passenger urban use. Pods will link seamlessly to other minimum carbon-emission forms of transport for local neighbourhood and inter-urban movement- light rail, electric cycles, scooters and bicycles. Pod streaming infrastructure will link to smart transport hubs, providing automated fast urban and intercity metro rail/bus transport services.

Pod infrastructure will be particularly valuable in high density areas such as the East Coast of the US which are already feeling the impact of climate change through major blizzards and ice events making it impossible for standard transport vehicles and infrastructure to function. Underground pod systems in such areas as well as those experiencing regular heat waves will be the only practical alternative solution.

By 2040 the car as we know it today will cease to exist in the developed world’s urban areas. In its place will be multi-purpose intelligent transit pods- systems seamlessly linked and customised to individual and community needs. Most ground-based vehicles except for bicycles/scooters will be totally autonomous and humans will become passengers only. All instructions managing human and urban infrastructure interaction such as pick-up/destination location and schedule requirements will be relayed by mobile links and automatically accessed by the pod system via the Intelligent Web 4.0 (Ref Future Web).

Autonomous pod/vehicle networks will then allow the primary role of passenger transportation to transform- merging with information, entertainment and education functions during transit times; providing major leisure and work productivity gains, both in urban and country population centres.

By 2050 3-dimensional multi-level transport systems will be in common use. Such systems will be suspended above the networked transit routes of cities with lower levels restricted to bicycles, scooters and walking. All levels will link with major transport hubs and mass electric rail for super-fast autonomous intercity and new low energy system air travel. The complex navigation, service and logistical decisions involved will be managed by adaptive intelligent software agents, operating via the dedicated and secure virtual networks of the Intelligent Web.

Humans and their transport infrastructure will be seamlessly and permanently inter-woven.

1 comment:

  1. Well now, it'll be right around 2015 when my vehicle payments will come to an end...

    For one, I'm looking forward to such a transport system. When I contemplate the enormity of building the infrastructure, I imagine that it can only be accomplished in an area deemed for human habitat as being a fraction of the size it is today...

    Not every where, not very far... Perhaps, these changes will not happen as soon as you invision them either? Perhaps, not including everyone? But knowing they will have to be....

    I'm having serious questions about even if the resources were available, could it be done in time? Time is a limitation as it was yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow?