Technology is constantly changing and updating the world we live in — it’s hard to imagine our lives without technology. Automotive technology has come a long way from the original Model T that rolled off Ford’s assembly lines back in the early 1900s.
Each new type of technology is also adapted into the automotive world, from electric batteries to seatbelts and everything in between. The auto industry is on the verge of another technological revolution. What can we look forward to in the future?
Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Humans are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the newest revolution that is taking steps to blend both the physical and digital worlds. It’s changing the way we look at industry, economy, and even what it means to be human.
This great change also creates a great risk — if governments don’t move swiftly enough to adopt new technology, they may find themselves and their people left behind. These amazing new technologies could also potentially be used for nefarious purposes, to the detriment of all.
For now, though, let’s take a closer look at what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is doing for the automotive industry, and what our future cars might look like.
Say goodbye to gasoline
There’s nothing more familiar than pulling up to your local gas station and filling up your car with gas — but it might not be too long before even gas stations are a thing of the past.
Some of the biggest automotive markets in the world have announced an imminent end to gasoline- and diesel-powered cars in favor of eco-friendly electric models. China, one of the biggest car markets in the world, is working on a timetable to eliminate the production of gasoline-powered cars entirely within the next 10 years.
China isn’t the only one working toward the end of gasoline — GM announced plans for a variety of electric models, and plans to have 18 working models by 2023. A little bit sooner than China, but not by much.
Gasoline may not disappear entirely in the next 10 years, but it is definitely on the way out in favor of greener modes of transportation.
It seems like you can’t read the news lately without seeing at least one story about self-driving cars — either positive or negative. Everyone and their brother is working toward their own fully autonomous car, though no one has gotten there quite yet, even if self-driving car technologies are starting to show up in currently available cars.
One of the biggest advances coming out of the self-driving car industry can be applied to manually driven cars as well — the ability for cars to talk to one another on the road. This might sound like science fiction, but it’s already a part of cars, such as those produced by Tesla.
One of these snazzy electric cars can encounter an obstacle or a change in traffic patterns and upload that information to the cloud, where other Tesla cars can download it and learn from the one car’s experience.
Short-range communication between nearby vehicles could help reduce traffic accidents and improve congestion by allowing cars to coordinate between one another. They could even eventually eliminate the need for traffic signals, since cars that communicate among themselves could stop or start depending on traffic patterns and needs.
Self-driving cars will likely save lives as well — upwards of 90 percent of accidents are caused by human error, so you could prevent those accidents by removing the human element from driving. These self-driving wonders could save more than 30,000 lives every year once they become easier and more affordable to obtain.
Exciting advancements start now
The automotive revolution is upon us — and it’s more exciting than words can express. Whether we make it all the way to Johnny Cabs (a la Total Recall) or not remains to be seen, but there is no telling where we might go. At this point, the limit isn’t available technology — it’s only our imagination.
This article was written by Megan Ray Nichols. If you enjoyed this article, please visit her website Schooled by Science.