The automotive industry is shifting gears. As the world is embracing new ideas and concepts, so is the automobile industry. The automotive industry is racing toward a new world, driven by sustainability and changing consumer behavior, encompassing electric vehicles, driverless cars, and even flying cars. The changes its undertaking are truly revolutionary.
We have electric cars replacing gas powered cars. Many countries and states have passed legislation banning gas powered automobiles within the next twenty years. This has led to a greater incentive to develop long-lasting electric vehicles (EVs) meeting the driving demands of consumers. Charging stations are being added to major highways as the shift to electric goes in earnest. Gas pumps are being replaced by charging stations. Electric cars end dependency on foreign oil which has been brought home this year, but more importantly, they are good for the climate, as we face dangers in our ecosystems. Electric cars like Biomega’s SIN are transforming the auto world. They are durable, comfortable, and can meet the driving demands of urban dwellers and weekend warriors. Every major automaker in the world is putting an emphasis on developing EVs. Within 10 years most vehicles worldwide will be electric.
The future of driving isn’t just about electrification. It's about automation. Driverless vehicles that seemed like a passing fad are becoming more common and in the next decade will make you the passenger not the driver. Imagine one day you hop in your driverless car in the morning, and since it’s a weekday it knows you want to go to the office, unless you instruct it otherwise. When it drops you off, the vehicle goes back home instead of you paying for parking. It’s coming faster than you may think.
Besides the convenience of being a passenger, driverless cars are also safer, and, according to studies, cut down on congestion in major urban areas. Even more importantly, they reduce the carbon footprint.
By 2030 it’s expected that more than a quarter of cars worldwide will be driverless. By 2050, it is predicted more than 75% will be driverless.
Yet driverless vehicles are the mere tip of the iceberg. In 1962, when the American television show, Jetsons was introduced with its concept of flying cars people laughed at the concept. Even in 1977 when the movie Star Wars introduced the flying land cruiser, the concept of a flying car seemed laughable and more the imagination of filmmakers.
Not anymore. Flying cars are a reality. They are expected to be introduced into the mass marketplace by 2024. This year’s Detroit Auto Show had five protypes of flying cars, that were practical to use, comfortable, and sporty looking. Cities across the world are anticipating the impact of flying cars and how they’ll be regulated. Just as the gas-powered automobile changed dirt roadways into bustling highways, so will flying cars change our space.
So, what will a flying car be like?
One prime example is the Terrafugia Transition. The Rotax 912ULS piston engine powered, carbon-fiber vehicle is planned to have a flight range of 425 miles using either automotive premium grade unleaded gasoline or 100LL avgas and a cruising flight speed of 93kn (107mph; 172km/h).
On the road, it can drive up to 70mph with normal traffic. Its folded dimensions of 6ft 8in (2.03m) high, 7ft 6in (2.29m) wide and 18ft 9in (5.72m) long are designed to fit within a standard household garage. When operated as a car, the engine power-take off near the propeller engages a variable diameter CV pulley automatic transmission to send power to the trailing-suspension mounted rear wheels via half-shafts powering belt drives. In flight, the engine drives a pusher propeller, the transition has folding wings and a twin tail.
Advances we’re seeking in automobiles are transforming our world. Just as horse and carriage replaced walking, which was replaced by the gas powered auto, today’s new technologies are replacing our automobile experience and the way we travel. What once only seemed the work of Hollywood and science fiction is now becoming a part of daily life.
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