I am no astrologer but an Engineer with a vision and innovative thoughts. When I look at the cars around me I realize how much these car have evolved in last 10 years. The changes are huge and drastic considering technological advances. But bigger changes are yet to come, or should I say the changes are coming faster than ever before.
I keep reading and thinking about the technologies, and I also have several ideas in my mind that i would like to have in cars. In this article I will try to list the technologies which I feel will be really common in cars of future.
Alternative Sources Of Energy :
First and foremost, I don’t see the conventional petrol or gasoline or diesel going a long way into future. The fuel prices are bound to shoot with time and depletion of crude oil from planet would make things worse. I feel the next big thing will be electrically driven cars or maybe hybrid cars which have electrical as well as conventional fuel burning engines. But electrical cars have better future prospects because they are technically simpler than combustion based engines. One of the most beautiful example of this is Michelin – E – Wheel technology. Source and picture credit : Engadget. This technology basically removed the need of an engine by putting the motor that drives the wheels right inside the wheels. These kind of innovations not only make cars cheap, but also light weight, more reliable, and easy to produce. We are seeing an era of Hybrid cars that run on petrol and battery, tomorrow we will have more cars that run primarily on batteries. Also fuel cells are a great opportunity if they can be produced for cheap cost. More than anything, pollution, cost and economy will decide what fuels we settle for, but crude is meant to go in a few decades anyways.
Regenerative Braking, Regenerative Suspensions and Solar Power
A penny saved is a penny earned, same holds true for energy. Whenever you apply brakes, a lot of car’s energy is wasted as heat is produced due to friction in brakes; but with need to make the cars more fuel efficient, and mass production of re-generative braking systems, this will soon change. It will make the brakes sophisticated and costly than they are, but will save on fuel by getting a part of braking energy to be utilized back to run the car. Currently there are electrical regenerative brakes that are more in research labs, but they will reach your cars as they get cheaper with time. There can be hydraulic re-generative brakes and more may come out as a part of energy conservation research going around the world. See this link to know more about re-generative braking.
On the same lines of regenerative brakes, a group of researchers at MIT have developed a Regenerative-Shock Absorber, which regenerates a part of energy that otherwise goes waste when there is a travel in shock-absorbers. This is a good direction to move, I really look forward to more such innovations making the future cars more efficient.
I am a big believer of solar energy. I know it is not sufficient and reliable to run the car, but something is better than nothing, I feel that with solar panels being more efficient in future, and cheaper than they currently are, there will be solar panels on the car’s top which will at-least help in battery charging for head-light and tail lights. even if they save 5 % of fuel consumption, that will a big boon for the environment. Image Credit and Source : Autopia
The highlights of future cars will be
Regenerative Braking To Conserve Energy
Regenerative Suspension To Save Energy
Solar Power To Charge Batteries Partially
Light Weight and Aerodynamic Cars
The invention of new polymers, alloys, and carbon fiber re-enforced bodies, the cars of today are lighter than ever before, and this trend will continue to make cars more light in weight and aero-dynamic in shape, what this means is better performance in acceleration, braking and also more fuel efficiency. Imagine if the weight of your car reduces to half, the performance will surely change drastically.
More Intelligence In Cars
We have seen cars having Navigation, entertainment, DTH TV etc; but the future promises much more. Imagine a car which is well networked where you can access your data wirelessly anytime. Also some intelligent services like the ones which can suggest you and other commuters to car-pool if it finds another car on similar route on its network. Many more consumer centric applications can be built to make the cars more intelligent than ever. Something like integration with emergency services servers in case of breakdown of car or accidents. Intelligent diagnostic features which will scan your car for problems and will suggest you the solution. Maybe we will also have auto-pilot modes on some highways where its is cost feasible to implement such systems, wherein you will just need to program the location and the car’s computer will drive for you on a particular route that supports auto-pilot mode.
You can never correctly predict future, but can have a vision about things. I will update this article in future as and when I come across more technologies or Ideas in my mind.