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The Future of the Car

Mar
13




In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.
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In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision. [summary] => A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC. [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

[safe_summary] =>

A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC.

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In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision. [summary] => A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC. [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

[safe_summary] =>

A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC.

) ) [#formatter] => text_default [0] => Array ( [#markup] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

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In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision. [summary] => A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC. [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

[safe_summary] =>

A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC.

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In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision. [summary] => A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC. [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

[safe_summary] =>

A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC.

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In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

old car cadillac The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

electric car nissan leaf Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.
You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

future car environment A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision. [summary] => A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC. [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

In the Fifties and Sixties the most common prediction for the car was that it would take flight, after all, why waste the aerodynamic potential brimming up around the tailfins and bouncy windshields of a beautifully designed 1958 Cadillac 60 Special?

The car of yesterday's future?

Oil crises, security concerns and the sheer engineering challenge of a car that could take to the air has all but laid that idea to rest now, so where does the future of the car lie? Better yet, what are the prospects for the philosophy of the car? Is it in fact an idea that can survive supplanting, like its older Victorian cousin, the train, which has begun its expensive comeback as a high-speed low-carbon alternative for yesterday’s world of tomorrow?

The last twenty five years has seen the car tarred with the oily brush of those daydreaming Cadillacs – they’re thirsty, dirty, unwieldy things that clog roads and kill us at twice the rate drug use does. Solutions come in two forms – the overhaul of the car itself and the overhaul of the environment around the car, sometimes these intertwine to provide ephemeral glimpses of possible worlds, but the real question is whether we have the willpower and the cash to build them.

There is the obvious tinkering – hybrid cars and electrics, some in operation today like the garlanded -and subsidised- Nissan Leaf and the coming-soonTesla Model X , which play around with form and function but strive first and foremost not to be Pinocchio, to look and feel like a ‘normal’ car and avoid the costly mistake of being ahead of their time.

Most govts have had to put tax breaks on the Leaf

Perhaps in the future these cars will be completely different from today – new materials like carbon fibre nanotubes promise outstanding lightness and durability, and tyres that run without air could be not far off the horizon. It’s still just tinkering though, fixing the little idiosyncrasies, ironing out the kinks in an old but well-loved item. The designers of that 60 Special, their artful minds churning with rocket-ship travel and atomic liners, would almost certainly not have been impressed.

The real change in cars is going to have to be in their environment. Without the vast postwar investment in highways – especially in the USA – the car would still be second place to the train in terms of speed and reliability. In similar ways the car’s place in the future will be defined by the environment they travel through rather from what they are constructed or what powers them.

GPS tracking technology, already ubiquitous in the form of satellite navigation, could further serve as the foundation for a broad church of new technologies under the name of Vehicular Infrastructure Integration. The driverless car, a product of the pioneering DARPA Grand Challenge, has proven itself a near-term possibility, but on its own would it really be a viable alternative or just a gimmick?

Cars that drive themselves could be one future

Automate the car, automate the highway. Networked vehicles travelling in intelligent platoons, onboard computers liaising with the road itself and with each other, keeping exactly braking distance and reacting hundreds of time faster than a human could to changes in traffic flow or potentially dangerous situations. As your autonomous car weaves elegantly along the highway, the road spinning away under your wheels is generating the electricity that powers your home.

You step out in a vast underground car park a short transit ride takes you to the city centre, where all your destinations are within easy walking distance, new developments built with a mix of flats and houses, with a core of small businesses serving the local population. New Urbanism might yet provide this bold new reality for many, or perhaps it won’t defeat the oppression of the suburbs altogether, but the ideas are there to challenge the way we currently use the car.

Perhaps these ideas would work in the expanses of sun-drenched California, but what about the rainier, older urban landscapes? The car may face challengers for its very existence here – mature building regulations and medieval street plans already sit uneasily with the automobile, and are unlikely to adapt easily to the clutter of sensor banks or the reverberating installation of mega car parks either. Extensions to public transport laid down a hundred and fifty years ago would also cause exceptional upheaval, but what if there was another way?

PRT could solve congestion problems for older cities

A fusion of the car and public transport has already had its practice run. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is an option that’s been trialled across the world. It offers the convenience of public transport with the directness of a car, travelling straight to your destination without stops. Their statistics are certainly impressive, a similar investment cost per km to a one-lane highway and certainly much less than an extra kilometre of subway. The current Crossrail Project in London would buy twelve thousand kilometres of PRT for the world capital.

A new environment for the car?

So we’ve seen the future of the car is tied inextricably to the environment, even more so in some planned developments like Masdar City in Saudi Arabia. Having the space and the money to experiment has led to the banning of the car from the city centre, a metropolis powered by solar and wind power, boasting tiny one-occupant PRT ‘pod’ cars that run underground to your intended destination in minutes. It may be a vision of the future completely alien to the designers and dreamers of yesteryear, and perhaps as unlikely, but at least it is a vision.

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A look at the possibilities of the car in the future, by JC.

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