What'll the Future of Motoring Be?

Cape Times (South Africa), May 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

What'll the Future of Motoring Be?


BYLINE: Motoring Staff

WE'VE COME a long way since Karl Benz invented the first commercially available horseless carriage back in 1886, and 127 years later we have cars that are internet-enabled, are synched to your smartphone, some that have pedestrian airbags, and some that are very close to being completely self-driven.

But what does the future hold? Possibly in the distant future we'll have wheel-less levitating cars with collision-avoiding force fields just like you see in sci-fi movies, but on the more forseeable horizon social connectivity seems to be one of the major themes.

For instance, a parked vehicle could signal to children that a road is safe to cross or, if they are lost, even point them in the right direction. When crossing a traffic lane, a car could send signals to the traffic infrastructure allowing other vehicles to slow down.

It's one of the ideas presented at the Future Talk In Berlin conference, in which experts from Daimler and specialists from different fields look ahead under the slogan "Future needs Utopia".

This idea of "Giving Back to the City" came about because of the way people perceive cars which are often seen as the "bad guys" - for example when it comes to parking. The task was: how can we create a more positive perception of cars?

Another idea is making your car a mobile electronic billboard. Large screens on the sides of cars could serve as advertising pillars, providing information on the current location or saying something about the vehicle's owner. Access to the digital world and unlimited communication would be possible without a smartphone 24 hours a day no matter where you were.

Autonomous (self-driving) cars are just around the corner with the integration of electronically powered systems like the throttle, brakes, and steering with satellite navigation, and the soon-to-be-launched Mercedes S-class is expected to be the first production car that will be able to drive itself under certain conditions. …

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