Future of cars – Self-driving and hydrogen powered?

We shed some light on where the future of cars might be going, it’s all about connectivity and self driving cars. But will there still be room for sheer driving pleasure? We think so.

Will people own cars in the future?

Will people continue to own cars? Most experts does not seem to think so, and car manufacturers and startups are racing to launch car-sharing services, leasing setups, subscriptions etc.

On a general long-term level, car ownership will fade out with some exceptions. The main one being classic and enthusiast cars, which would be ownership for hobby purposes.

How connected will the car be in the future?

We have already started to see apps from most car manufacturers where you can control heating, open/close etc. Right now the car industry are charging extra for these features, but in the future buyers will regard it as commoditiy.

Initiatives like Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto and MirrorLink will all bring features from your smartphone into the screen and environment of your car. It will be interesting to see if any of the three above will become the standard for car infotainment or if the car industry will get it together and simply develop infotainment systems that integrate more easily with smartphones.

What will the dashboard look like?

Dashboards have for a long time been an odyssey of plastic buttons and displays, some have been great designs and others…not so great. The displays and gauges are moving up on the windscreen using HUD (head up displays). Fighter jets have had this technology for quite some time, and some more expensive production cars as well.

Right now it’s even possible to retrofit HUDs on your car, with products such as Navdy.

Navdy HUD display with text message

Image Courtesy: Navdy

The car of the future may run on hydrogen…or electricity… or both…

Will future cars be powered by electricity, hydrogen or still using fossil based fuels? The answer is probably not one but multiple. Electric powered cars have a future in more populated areas, and will most probably be a bridge technology to hydrogen. Electric cars still needs to be made available to a broader audience, Tesla is a great car but it’s price point is too steep for regular people. The only mass produced electric with a decent price point so far is Nissan Leaf, with a range of 250 km.

Hydrogen on the other hand have been in the media since 2008, Toyota is one of the pioneers within the technology, but most car manufacturers are experimenting. Some experts mean that hydrogen is very far away, mainly because of the lack of infrastructure to distribute it in a good way.

Toyota Mirai runs on hydrogen

Toyota Mirai runs on hydrogen. Image Courtesy: Toyota

Fossil based fuels, do they have a future? In the short-term yes, especially when travelling longer distances in less populated areas. Petrol and diesel engines will without a doubt become more and more effective, and the combination with electric will support that further.

Are self-driving cars just a hype?

Self-driving cars are the future, if all cars were self-driving there would be no accidents or fatalities according to the experts. Of course this is wishful thinking but not that far from the truth. Tesla recently announced their self-driving technology and Jalponik took it for a test-drive in the video below:

BMW have several demos on self-driving cars as well. Not to mention Apple and Google. The technology so far works best on freeways, it’s still some time before we can see the technology in the cities en-masse.

But what happens to the car enthusiasts when cars become self-driving? Surely some people would like to drive on their own and really get the experience? There will still be a market for these types of cars, so we will not see a self-driving Ferrari in the future.
Regarding legislation it remains to be seen if “ordinary” cars will be allowed on the roads or only be legal on special stretches of road or on racing tracks.

To me it would seem that self-driving cars would be the bulk of cars, your standard cars. Then it would still be a profitable market for enthusiast cars.

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