Cars & Ground Mobility
I was reading The Mirror the other day and came across a letter from a reader who wrote, ‘I was riding my bike to work when this red Ferrari pulled up next to me. Out of the window, Jeremy Clarkson shouted ‘Get a car’, and drove off.’ What I actually said was, ‘Get a car you hatchet faced, leaf-eating Nazi! – Jeremy Clarkson
There is something about the technologies which allow us to go from point A to point B that really makes me appreciate science. It’s an easy sign post for me when looking back through history and even when looking forward with new an innovative technologies still on the horizon. I enjoy considering how the automobile has effected us and how it’s been integrated into society. I enjoy pondering how the automobile has gone from it’s simplest form, engine, frame, wheels, and pilot chair, to the technological wonders they are today. Think about how automobiles have advanced other technologies, like GPS, Satalite Radio, and computers designed to make cars run at optimal performance levels. The automobile is very easily one of the most influential inventions ever to grace human society.
The ability to move across the ground takes many other forms of course and naturally we must be able to move the parts around to build cars in the first place. We employ trucks, trains, and box-trucks to carry all the parts of a car to factories, retail car part stores, and warehouses around the land. The evolution of all this technology seems to change more and more rapidly as we hurdle towards a technological singularity process in which we will find even more superior ways to move even more gracefully, with more speed, with more control, and safety. Everything from the locomotion it takes to get a train a mile long running at optimal speed down the railways, to traction control systems on sports cars, to navigation equipment aboard expedient All Terrain Vehicles out in the wilds of the world.
Imagine what a Recreational Vehicle (RV for short) will be like in the next 20 years. Will they be capable of self piloting when the pilot requires a bathroom break? Imagine all of the other technologies incorporated into the idea of an RV and how they might evolve over the next 20 years. It is fascinating to imagine how just one element of the motor vehicle can progress other areas of completely unrelated industries dealing with all together different sets of ideas and technologies. Imagine what the sleeping quarters will be like when wireless internet is full accessible over a large portion of all of earth. Imagine pulling beside an unknown forest and the walls of your RV become transparent showing you the forest. The on board router would present information about the woods for you to learn at your leisure. Imagine being able to get the GPS location of the nearest camp ground with RV amenities and setting that location for your self piloting RV to arrive safety just on time to roast marshmallows.
Then again maybe you want to drive fast and push the envelope on what the motor vehicle is capable of doing. We already have amazing sports cars capable of mind bending feats of speed, handling, and style. I can only see this trend improving greatly with the advancement of technology. I imagine tires capable of reacting to the surface of the road in order to provide even more optimal handling through turns, rough weather, and when stopping. Instead of pumping gasoline in a combustion engine, imagine the whir of an electric power house capable of producing more power than we can imagine handling at this point in our automotive development. In this advancement it follows that every production vehicle based on these top of the line sports cars will also improve, as has been the case over the years, it is these idealistic designs with their raw power and handling capabilities which help shape the next line of production class vehicles fresh off the assembly line.
We’re just scratching the surface now though aren’t we. What do you gear heads out there think about my ideas? Those that enjoy lifting the hood of their vehicle, taking away what they don’t want, and adding new performance parts. In a bold attempt to improve the cars over all performance and adding a strong sense of ownership, tuning will only become a much more creative process with the advent of 3D Printing technologies. Maybe you’re not going to purchase a designer vehicle from a dealership. Perhaps you feel you can do it better than they can. I believe this will be possible with the use of downloadable files for parts which can then be printed three dimensions with special printers. Everything from the chassis engine, transmission, body work, wheels, tires, brakes, and everything in between will be able to be printed out into an assembly package which you can then either complete yourself or have a mechanic complete for you. Perhaps it will be like going to a tailor for a suit, only your 3 piece suit is a 3D printed vehicle that meets your every desire.
With advances in vehicles themselves, perhaps also we will see new advances in the roads and rail ways we drive along as well. I imagine roads which can divert traffic in various ways with the use of tunnel systems, magnetism, GPS location technology, and easy to use User Interface. Navigating these roads will be nothing more than setting your destination and desired time of arrival so that all the other request from other travelers can be taken and implemented fairly. These roads would typically be for high traffic areas where user response is not needed and in fact not wanted. Imagine never missing an exit again, never being in another fender bender, eliminating road rage, and being able to stay productive even while traveling.
The fuel with which we power our cars has hardly changed, though it is well known many alternatives do exist. It is only a matter of time before the technology to exploit these alternatives becomes readily available and cheap to produce on a mass scale. I imagine that because of how 3D printing changes how we look at an economy, many of these alternatives will be readily available to everyone to use and there will be a lot of competition among those alternatives which will lead eventually to a new definition of what fuel even means. The possibilities in my mind are endless and though I could continue sharing my ideas, I’m interested in hearing what others have to say.