Lighter, Fuel Efficient, Safer, and Smarter Automobiles!

Future cars will be so cool. Among their options will be such things as collision avoidance and infrared sensors. In fact, driverless cars have already been created.

Can you imagine driving a car without the concern about being in an accident? No need to worry about other cars, big trucks, or hitting a pedestrian. Technology will protect you and keep you and everyone else safe.

Because your future cars will be powered by a fuel cell that creates electricity, it will no longer be considered dirty and noisy. You will not be responsible for dirty air and smog.

Future Cars Will Be Both Lighter and Stronger!

Fiberglass, carbon fiber, duraluminum, and carbon nanotubes may replace all of the steel in the cars made today. These materials are lighter and in most instances stronger than steel.

Car shells made of plastic over a styrofoam skeleton will be much lighter and may make the car buoyant. Heavier vehicles require more fuel consumption and are, therefore, less efficient.

Today's Vehicles Are Not Efficient!

It is estimated that today's automobiles operate at only 15 percent efficiency. That means 85 percent of the energy used is wasted. Most of the heat generated by the engine and the braking system is wasted.

"Regenerative Braking Systems" can recover and store thermal energy as electricity for future use. Without going into all the boring details, there are many ways to make engines more efficient. The technology exists - it just needs to be cost effective.

Redesigning the exterior of cars is already reducing drag. Race car designs have had a huge and practical effect on our automobile designs. Various technologies will continue to make future cars more efficient.

Smart Phones - Next Is Smart Cars!

Future cars will have collision avoidance systems that communicate with other cars, trucks, and buses. Each will transmit and receive information from other vehicles.

They will also detect obstacles and even pedestrians. Radio signals, infrared sensors, cameras, and other detection technologies will notify the driver of  an impending collision.

All of this will be done in "real time". The environment surrounding each car will constantly be monitored. If another car gets too close to your lane or a motorcycle is in your "blind spot", you will be alerted with flashing lights, sounds, or steering wheel vibrations.

The question that comes to mind is, "What will the car do when a ball rolls into the street? Will it know that a child is likely to follow the ball?"

So, What Is The Result Of All This Technology?

Future cars will allow you to maintain a safe distance from other cars in steady traffic. That safe distance will be less than what is safe now, because your car will know if the car in front of you is braking. You, the driver, will be the second to know as the sensors aboard your car will overrule your actions or reactions.

There are a wide variety of ways that technology in future cars will assist you. An "intersection warning system" will alert you about an impending collision. Even before a car is in the driver's sight (since the cars communicate with each other), you will be warned.

Can you imagine what it would be like to drive into a blinding fog at night? Freeway crashes have occurred as speeding cars entered a dense fog or smoke-filled area. Pileups often include dozens of cars and trucks. Those injuries and deaths will be avoided with the technology that is already available.

Will There Ever Be A Driverless Automobile?

There already is! Google, Inc. and engineers working at Stanford University have created an "autonomous" or "robotic" car that has successfully  driven through the streets of San Francisco. Several driverless cars have unblemished driving records driving around Lake Tahoe, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and even the steep hairpin turns of San Francisco's Lombard Street.

The passenger seat has been occupied by one of Google's engineers who can take control of the vehicle by turning the wheel or stepping on the brake. In March 2012, Google's driverless car drove a legally blind man from his home to a drive-through restaurant, a dry cleaning shop, and successfully returned him to his home. (You can see it on YouTube.)

Three states have already permitted the operation of driverless cars. They are legal in Nevada. And Florida and California permit testing of autonomous cars on their public roads.

If you see a driverless car in one of those states, don't be alarmed. It is one of the "Future Cars". It is equipped with the latest technology and can read traffic signs and signals. It is certainly less threatening than a drowsy driver who is talking on his cell phone or texting. You can be assured that the driverless car is on a predetermined mission and will not harm you.

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