Earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show in Chicago, the world was treated to a glimpse of a future that looks more like a science fiction movie than a real place.
Billed as “The Biggest Auto Show in the World,” the auto industry’s greatest showcase featured all manner of futuristic cars from the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, just to name a few.
With all the hype surrounding tomorrowland, it’s no wonder that people are curious about the new automotive experiment. Is this really where the automotive industry is headed?
We’ve all seen the movies: gleaming highways, gleaming city streets, gleaming cars driving on these roads, right? Well, it seems like we’re on the right track. Manufacturers are making the shift to emphasize safety over looks, with cars becoming more utilitarian, practical, and technological.
Whether you love cars or hate them, there’s no denying that they’ve evolved over the years. As much as we might like to stay in a nostalgic era of muscle cars and classic looks, the automotive industry is headed in a different direction.
A Matter Of Speeding
With ever-increasing gas prices and emissions concerns, automakers are seeking greener, more sustainable means of transportation. As much as we might like to think that the next generation of cars will be driven by electric motors and hybrid powertrains, it seems that the auto industry is taking inspiration from the future that we read about in science fiction novels and movies.
In most science fiction stories, flying cars are a common sight. In Tomorrowland, it’s bikes and buses that take to the air. And it’s not just cars either; a future version of the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s (SFM) iconic red buses can actually fly. Although the buses themselves don’t look like they could carry a person comfortably, it would be a cool sight to see them glide above the city’s streets.
While it’s great to see that the automotive industry is looking towards the future, this does bring concerns for the environment. The Chicago Auto Show was a glimpse into the future, after all; the noise, the fumes, the waste – it doesn’t exactly paint a picture of sustainable living. Plus, what about all the traffic? It would certainly be interesting to see how automakers plan to tackle these issues. Maybe they’ll introduce hybrid models or go fully electric, but for now, they’re relying on the good old-fashioned internal combustion engine (ICE).
The Ultimate In Luxury
With all the talk of sustainable transportation, it’s no wonder that luxury car manufacturers are leading the way in innovative designs. Ferrari, one of the most prestigious automotive brands, took the wraps off the California T, its new flagship that will be revealed during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month.
The Italian firm hasn’t always been associated with luxurious cars – just think back to the 1960s and the exotic vehicles created under the direction of Enzo Ferrari. But like many other automotive brands, Ferrari is looking towards the future and seeing how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and automated driving could make cars both safer and more luxurious. The company’s head of design, Benedetto Castelli, said: “If you look at the history of Ferrari, you’ll see that we’ve changed a lot. In the past, a Ferrari was a car that you could buy and own. Today, it’s so much more than that. It represents the lifestyle of a person who is passionate about driving.”
Ferrari is taking this one step further by designing the California T to be fully automated. The car will be able to drive itself – no pun intended – to an amazing degree. It will be the first Ferrari to be able to do this. And how does the AI system work? Well, it works a lot like the one in Amazon’s Alexa. When you ask Alexa to play music, she’ll play whatever is closest in proximity. In the same way, the California T will play music that it deems appropriate based on where it is and who is in the car.
Artificial intelligence is not a new concept in automobiles; it was first used in the late 1960s when vehicles started getting more advanced. However, AI-driven vehicles are more accurate, drive more smoothly, and are generally safer than their counterparts from years past. Seeing as so many people live without having to worry about motor vehicle accidents, it’s clear that AI could play a crucial role in the future of cars.
While we might get excited about all the new car designs and technology that show up at auto shows, the truth is that most of these vehicles won’t reach our shores for at least a few years.
Even when they are made available to the public, these cars will still have various kinks and quirks that need to be worked out. As much as we might like to think that tomorrow is now, the reality is that the automotive industry is still finding its way.
Even Tesla, the electric car maker that turned heads with the introduction of the Model 3, still has issues with range, reliability, and design that prevent it from truly being the ‘production ready’ vehicle that CEO Elon Musk promises. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Tesla and other companies like it will play a huge role in future automotive design.
Musk has also gone on record stating that he doesn’t expect autonomous driving to happen for at least 10 years. Although this may seem like an eternity, it’s actually quite recent in automotive terms. It wasn’t that long ago that gas stations were the only option for motorists and driving was considered a means of transportation rather than an addiction. These days, it seems like every other car on the road is driven by a computer, and it’s not hard to see why – the vehicles are technologically advanced and offer a great experience for those who use them.