There used to be a time when cars were seen as the pinnacle of technology, these paradigm-changing machines that finally replaced horse-powered vehicles on our streets and ushered too many social and economic changes to even list.
Then, as time went by, they turned into work-horses and they lost much of their original technological excitement. Sure, car manufacturers continued improving the cars, but until relatively recently, cars were more or less what they were in the early 20th century, as was our relationship with them.
These days, it feels like we are living during a time of great change in the automotive industry and also in the way we relate with cars.
The Self-Driving Future
Perhaps the biggest and the most momentous shift that we will probably see during our lifetime will be the introduction of self-driving cars to our roads. It doesn’t get more dramatic than that. Instead of driving our cars, we will be using them as transport, putting our lives in their hands, or better said, their computers. They will get us to our destination and we will only hope that no one hacks them.
Many people are lauding this kind of future, but there are also those who say that this will completely change the way we view cars. And it will. It will be all but impossible to have a relationship with such a vehicle more than we do with the bus we take to work. It definitely has its good sides, but removing the actual driving from the equation may be more than some people are ready to accept.
The Accessibility of Everything
For someone who got their driver’s license in the last ten years, a world of driving which does not involve internet is almost too strange to imagine. For example, they cannot imagine not being able to order a sound system for their car without leaving their home. They cannot paint a mental image of not being able to go through gazillion online car ads when purchasing a used car. Also, they cannot imagine how people bought cars before reading a million reviews on very single model available.
Technology has also helped other people involved in the car industry and not just the "regular folk", so to say. For instance, in the States, if you want to start a car dealer business, you can easily find an online guide on doing so. This is not even mentioning how much of the paperwork can be done online if you wish to sell cars, found a car industry-related startup or anything like that.
It is a whole new world out there and it going to get even more internet-based as time goes by.
The Improved Safety
One of the biggest effects technology has had on cars, and this is really something where we have seen a continuous improvement, is our safety. The car manufacturers have been finding out new ways to keep us safer on the road since the very beginnings and it is safe to say that the cars we drive around in these days are at least five times as safe as those our parents drove.
The best thing about it is that they there are new safety advancements being introduced every day, it seems. Concepts such as safety foam, new materials and improved tyres are all just waiting to be implemented in production cars, making them even safer.
To complete the circle, the introduction of self-driven cars is often hailed as the ultimate in safety feature, but this is something we will have to see for ourselves.
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