Britain is set to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 in response to rising levels of nitrogen oxide posing a major risk to public health. With more than 34.4 million cars on the roads in Britain and a record 2.69m sold in 2016 in an industry worth £77.5bn a year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders; it’s clear that Britons still love their cars and that this love isn’t looking to dwindle anytime soon.
Chancellor Philip Hammond claims that “if we want the UK to lead the next industrial revolution” the government plans to “have fully driverless cars without a safety attendant on board in use by 2021”. Due to the current limitations of the electric cars on the market in terms of range, power and expense, this seems to be a bold claim to say the least. However, with a 23-year wait until new petrol and diesel cars and vans are banned, there is certainly enough time to get it right.
With the ever-growing need for new innovative designs for the “car of the future”, there is most definitely room for thinking outside the box. Pablo Picasso once said that “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. With this in mind, maybe it’s a good idea to feed off the uncontrollable creativity of children while they are still artists, in order to help design the cars they will be driving in the future. Well, in this article we’ve done just that.
Lina, age 11. “Has wings so it can fly. Strawberry smell smoke which makes music. It’s got heart shaped windows. Has a spider web shooter. Has vegetable and fruit wheels so very eco-friendly.”
Liam, age 9. “I’m not sure why I put the propeller on the side Max. When is the Maxmobile going to be a flying car?”
Izzy, age 5. “This is a car that can transform to a boat if necessary. It doesn’t need a seatbelt because it never crashes.”
Harry, age 7. The text bubble in the bottom right reads, “Mum I got a sweety please don’t be mad, I saved one for you!”.
Ben, age 9. “This car teleports so dad doesn’t complain about the traffic on his way to work”.
Hannah, age 4. “I shaped my car like a banana because mum always makes me eat my banana on the way to school”.
A recent survey of car manufacturing executives by KPMG revealed that 59% of industry bosses believe that more than half of all car owners today will no longer want to own a car by 2025. Therefore, with a brand-new car in the UK lasting on average 13.9 years, the chances are that if you bought one today, it may very well be the last car you ever own. Over the next decade, technological advances in the automotive industry are not only set to change the way we drive but they are set to transform the notion of car ownership as a whole. With the rise of taxi services such as Uber, many millennials and younger generations have grown accustom to transport at the click of a button without necessarily owning a car. As these systems become even more advanced we could see having a private car become a luxury and shared car ownership schemes become more common.
What features can we expect from the cars of the future?
It is guaranteed that the car as we know it today will look completely different by the time petrol and diesel combustion engine are banned from sale. Perhaps it’s time to think seriously about:
- Cars that communicate with each other?
- Cars that can talk to pedestrians?
- Retractable steering wheels?
- Seats that face each other?
- Energy-storing body panels?
- Interactive windscreen displays?
- Cars supported by drones?
- Exterior air bags that help stop cars?
- Will we still be driving?
- Or, will we be living in a Futurama-esque landscape, whizzing around in self-driving pods, drinking a Starbucks coffee while we prepare for our next meeting?
Honestly, nobody knows as it is hard to accurately predict. However, the British government has forecast that the driverless car industry would be worth £28bn to the UK economy by 2035 and will support 27,000 jobs. Car manufacturers such as Mercedes and Audi believe that in 10 years, self-driving cars will be sophisticated enough for regular use.
On the 8th November, Uber took one step closer to bringing flying cars to market as it signed a contract with Nasa to develop flying taxi software. The company’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said that “Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies”. The idea is clearly very optimistic; however, they would have told Henry Ford he was optimistic when he planned to make cars available to anyone and everyone. Innovation is clearly at the heart of the automobile industry and as technology progresses we see ideas that we previously thought impossible become possible. So, who knows, maybe Sarah, 6, wasn’t too far from the truth when she predicted that we will be driving sharks in the future and maybe Jack, 8, was right when he said that we’d be driving spaceships. I’m sure Uber would agree with you Jack.