On the future of the car…

I know to anyone reading these blog posts that I appear to have some form of ADD, or an insatiable thirst for any and all knowledge on hugely varied topics. And in that spirit, let’s shift gears (no pun intended) from work-health balance to the future of the car…

I’m in automotive engineering, and my days revolve around specifically the aerodynamics of race and road vehicles. But I am a mechanical engineer first, and I’m surrounded by brilliant automotive engineers in my office. So, naturally, today we were discussing cars.

Today was different though. And to be honest, I’m sure that they were all joking about this one topic. But on my drive home, I started thinking very very seriously about the same supposedly ludicrous ideas.

The joke was about a particularly stylish and suave colleague who would benefit from a mobile dressing station on his way to the next party / function / event. My other friend commented that it’s a CAR, not a CLOSET! But then I wondered, what it if kinda was a closet?

There were jokes on how it’d be nice to be able to shower on the way from soccer practice to his fancy dinner downtown, so you’d need some running water too… You know, a little mobile hotel room / dressing room of sorts.

Now THAT got me thinking. What is the purpose of the autonomous car?

Is it just for safer and more efficient transportation?

OR…

Is it to extend the workday, allowing for more time that people can be focused on their laptops or phones?

Is it to allow people to rest and relax as they get from point A to point B?

Could it be a mobile hotel room? In the sense that you can sleep, watch tv, change for dinner, and otherwise chill out?

Is it really a mobile extension of your home?

Would we even need homes if we have big moving mobile ones?

The possibilities are endless…

And maybe I’m 20 – 50 years out here, but Ford announced that they will be selling their first autonomous vehicles in 2021, and that’s not too far from now. So, while there may be driverless cars in four years, I wonder what they will be in 10 years or 20, for that matter.

I am excited and bewildered at the limitless possibilities…

And that’s coming from someone that really LOVES to drive. Hence the image of my drive from this weekend.

But things are changing quickly, and we can either be romantic about the past and dwell on the good ol’ days, or we can get passionate about the future, and embrace it whole-heartedly.

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