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Future Cars

The future is always an exiting topic. It offers the possibility of something exciting, unexpected and interesting. The future of cars is no different. We are inclined to expect fancier looking cars, with "futuristic" design that is embodied in the flashy prototype models of car makers that can be seen on auto shows and exhibitions. We expect more comfort, more safety, more speed and all that for less money.

What does the future of cars hold? Obviously, you cannot increase the acceleration, power and speed limit of cars indefinitely or they would turn into modern Formula 1 cars, and we don't want to turn our streets into a race track. Rather, there is a considerable margin for improving the safety of cars and making them less expensive to drive through reducing fuel consumption. These two very significant directions would shape the vision of the future cars. The third direction is making the cars more environment friendly by reducing emissions and use of electricity for power.

As far as safety is concerned, you can expect a lot of fancy gadgets as well as some more complex systems. For example, in the not so distant future, we can see vehicles with automated driving by a computer system. There are some potential obstacles before implementing such systems, e.g. who will be responsible if an accident happens – is it the driver that left the car on auto-pilot or is it the manufacturer of the auto-pilot. Of course, some systems that may hit the brakes for you if they sense that a sure danger of collision exists, might be very helpful. An automatic parking system would be also a nice benefit as a computer can calculate and execute a perfect parking with very few maneuvers. A system for night vision will probably be an affordable option for the future cars, as such systems exist today for military applications. Also expect all kinds of route optimizing technologies, based on GPS and real-time traffic reports. Finally, expect the future car to be much "smarter" than the present one, meaning that it will probably assist your decisions in many situations instead of providing only wheels for transportation.

The vehicle of tomorrow will probably be some type of a hybrid car that combines two or more sources of power. Such cars exist today but very few are in commercial use. A hybrid typically has a gasoline-powered engine and an electric motor. The on-board electrical power source may be a fuel cell or a solar panel. The fuel cell is similar to a battery; it takes hydrogen-rich fuel and oxygen and turns them into electricity and heat. The waste product is water. The hydrogen can be derived from gasoline, natural gas, propane or methanol. Because of the lower energy density of electric batteries, purely electrical vehicles will be difficult to create, but with the help of the gasoline engine a hybrid car can operate very efficiently and be environment friendly.

The futurologists have come to the conclusion that what we see as inevitable future will come much later than we expect it or may be never but what we don't expect will come much faster than we could imagine. So may be the car of the future will look much different than we expect and some interesting technological development will bring as a future that we never dreamed of…


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