Big Changes

Big changes coming for cars soon; really big changes, and just from my own (very) informal survey, I’d have to say that almost everyone in the general public is oblivious to these developments.

As an example, almost no one seems to take the premise of autonomous vehicles very seriously, but, soon, and I mean very soon, in the next 10 years, we’re going to have a lot of autonomous vehicles on the road in the U.S. And not just passenger cars – delivery trucks, taxis, etc. These vehicles will drive themselves around, and require no input from a human being. You will be able to get in your car in the morning, and it will safely drive you to work while you watch cat videos on the internet, or do meditation exercises. If you order a pizza from Dominos, it may show up in a driverless vehicle. You’ll pay for the pizza with your phone app, walk out to the vehicle, the door will open, and you take your pizza, and walk back inside your house or apartment.

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This is isn’t science fiction; this is going to happen very soon. Tremendous strides have been made in autonomous vehicle technology in the last few years, and it is going to be here, in your life, soon.

You’ll be able to send your car to pick up your kid at soccer practice. You’ll be able to send your car to pick up groceries at Trader Joe’s.

You’ll be able to get in your car in Des Moines, Iowa, and tell it to drive to your brother’s house in Valdosta, Georgia, and it will do that, while you do something else – go to sleep, finally skim through all your work emails, read War and Peace, catch up on ‘Game of Thrones’, have a bowl of oatmeal, call the cable company about that weird charge on your bill, whatever.

Obviously, this is a boon for most people, but for some portion of the population, it is a godsend – the disabled, the infirm elderly, the blind, etc. It dramatically increases the mobility of these groups of people.

Yes, a huge shift in how cars will be used.

And, there are big changes afoot in how a car is propelled. Several automakers have announced plans to completely eliminate vehicles with internal combustion engines from their lineups in the 10 or 20 years. All manufacturers are working on many more vehicles that are either all electric, or hybrid electric/gas. Electric vehicles (EVs) are still very much a niche segment in the United States, but there have been such dramatic technological advances in battery storage and battery power recently, coupled with price drops in the manufacturing process, that it is now feasible that soon, almost all people could afford to have their daily driving needs met by an EV.

Hey, did we mention that electric cars are also blindingly fast?

Huge changes coming, and, as noted above, most people are completely oblivious to just how different things will be in the next 20 years.

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