Cars of the Future Envisioned by Advancing Technology
Could shows like The Jetsons and movies like The Fifth Element have actually predicted the future of the automobile industry with flying cars? While such technology isn’t exactly out of reach for modern man, developments in technology (both in and out of the auto industry) are paving the way for improvements more pressing than flight. Rather than looking to the sky, the auto industry are exploring flexible manufacturing methods, autonomous applications, and energy alternatives to make your life on the road a lot easier.
3D Printing in Mass Production
The 3D printer is one of the most talked about modern technological advances due to a myriad of potential applications so it’s little wonder that 3D printing technology is predicted to factor heavily in the future of auto manufacturing. Even now, it’s possible to create a car in a mere 44 hours thanks to 3D printing technology. CAD software offers a much more efficient and cost-effective means of making adjustments when compared to current inflexible processes that rely on molds. Mass production will still likely be the focus for the auto industry initially but basic CAD adjustments can create a non-mass produced part for a manufacturer much easier than ever before. The amount of precision and control offered by 3D printing will also reduce error and costs associated to error so a future of 3D printed cars will be more cost-efficient for manufacturers and consumers alike. 3D printing may even allow manufacturers to cut costs through savings on production time.
Custom Made Piecemeal Cars
While 3D printing offers so many obvious benefits to the mass production of cars of the future it also opens the door for easier customizations. The dawn of the piecemeal electrical car is already being explored by collectors but 3D printing could eventually see custom cars coming out of such a niche market. The process will see consumers buying auto parts online and purchasing design blueprints directly from auto companies. At this point, the electrical car can either be assembled by the consumer or, more likely, taken to an auto body shop for assembly. Finally, an operating system can be purchased for installation in the car’s dash. This prediction would not view a car tailored to your specific needs as a luxury but as the norm.
The Dawn of the Self-Driving Car
Self-driving cars have been talked about for some time but recent advancements in autonomous technology are making the fantasy a reality. Tesla Motors have already started blazing the trail with their recent AutoPilot! feature for Model S cars. While this update doesn’t render the Model S fully autonomous, it does add some pretty impressive features such as an array of safety sensors and the ability to automatically parallel park. There are projects focused on perfecting the autonomy of cars currently underway at many major tech companies, including Apple and Google. Uber has even been discussing a shift to self-driving cars following a series of safety concerns involving human drivers. If Uber and other transportation companies were to make such a shift, it could revolutionize the face of transportation, finding more and more people switching to hired self-driving cars in favor of owning their own cars and all of the expenses that come with them.
Tesla are also toying with solar power to build on the legacy of electric cars as a better alternative to gas-powered vehicles. They’ve already unveiled a rechargeable lithium-ion battery called the Powerwall. While the Powerwall is designed to provide renewable solar energy solutions for your home this would obviously extend to the docking bay for your electrical car. The Powerwall is capable of providing immense amounts of energy to a home using solar power so this very well could be the next step in cars that run on renewable energy.
While TV and film haven’t always accurately envisioned the future of the auto industry, the above advances in technology are already in play in most cases; just not on a wide scale. We may be waiting a little longer for a flying bubble top cruiser but the wait will likely be very comfortable in self-driving, energy-efficient, custom made cars of the future.