Autonomous and Flying Vehicles.
Although this may sound like a far-fetched ‘back to the future’ style prediction all of the above are more imminent than we could even imagine.
It is widely known that the government have announced plans to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Queue the introduction of fully Electric Vehicles and an increase in the current sale of hybrids.
Although this has divided opinions amongst motorists and car enthusiasts, electric cars aren’t an entirely new concept. In the 1800’s electric vehicles were favoured by drivers in the US with sales exceeding that of steam & internal combustion engine vehicles combined. The internal combustion engine vehicles were operated using a crank start, a feature which put many drivers off purchasing them. However, in the 1900’s they became more advanced and the electric starter motor was installed making them easier to start and more desirable. Mass production then made them significantly cheaper than electric vehicles thus driving a surge in sales and advancing them to market leader.
Fast forward to today, and the current reinstatement of electric vehicles to our roads comes as the UK Government is forced to take action on the state of the countries air pollution. This is a result of failing to comply with EU regulations for the past seven years.
Electric vehicles are being reintroduced as a compulsory measure from 2040, however it seems motorists are still wary and reluctant to invest in something that doesn’t meet the same reliability for long distance driving as their electric counterparts. That being said, Tesla's and Nissan Leaf’s seem to be more prominent on UK roads and judging by sales and demand, proves there are a small group of consumers eager to make the crossover to EV’s.
However the current technology doesn’t stop at electric vehicles; autonomous vehicles (driver-less) are being introduced as a revolutionary new way to travel and are already undertaking road tests overseas.
Google, BMW, Nissan and Ford have all been reported to be experimenting with autonomous vehicles in California for the past eight years. The world of autonomous vehicle manufacturing seems to have picked up speed and has attracted significant media attention. Manufacturers such as Audi and Tesla have been seen to be investing heavily in research and development to get these tech driven machines on UK roads as soon as possible.
The UK government have apparently invested funds exceeding one hundred million pounds in the development of driver-less cars and it’s reported that a fleet of autonomous vehicles will be tested on a UK motorway between London and Oxford in 2019. The organisation behind the test are Oxbotica ‘a leading consortium of companies that will help to further cement the UK’s reputation as a world leader in the development of autonomous vehicles.’ (Oxbotica). For the planned trial the ‘vehicles will be operating at Level 4 autonomy – meaning they have the capability of performing all safety-critical driving functions and monitoring roadway conditions for an entire trip, with zero-passenger occupancy.’ (Oxbotica).
On the topic of zero emissions and zero driver occupancy’s, the latest revelation for the automotive industry is the proposal for zero road contact vehicles.
Could you imagine sitting in a vehicle with no steering wheel, pedals or gearbox? Relying solely on computers, cameras and lasers to get you safely from A to B. Well if that makes you wary you could always opt for public transport… Why not call your local flying taxi! Daimler Chrysler have reportedly invested thirty million dollars in aviation company Volocopter. Based in Stuttgart, Volocopter are a German company with plans to create an emission free, noise free flying taxi with the ability to carry up to 5 passengers. “Volocopter plans on carrying out a public demonstration of its electric heli-taxi in Dubai later this year. Dubai has been selected as a test site due to the city’s desire to automate 25 percent of its public transportation initiatives by the year 2030.” (Autoguide)