If the likes of Google, Tesla and Apple get their way, the car of the not so distant future will be quite a departure from what we are familiar with today. For a start, it will drive us rather than us driving it. This has far reaching ramifications beyond what has already been discussed such as legal ownership of liabilities in accidents and if you would be happy to send your kids to school in one. Unsupervised? Assuming these fundamental issues can be overcome, then a revolution is about to take place. In fact it has already started.
Battery technology is now cost competitive with fossil fuels, even when end of life is taken into account and should be even more prevalent when Tesla release their new car for the masses and Nissan releases the new Leaf with much improved range. The likes of Jeremy Clarkson will gleefully point out that the adoption of pure electric cars is simply moving pollution to the power stations. This argument has some basis in fact, only if governments around the world refuse to invest in cleaner energy production sources. Many already have and some enjoy tremendous natural hyrdo electric producing terrain and are almost entirely clean (84%) in the case of Uruguay. So Jeremy's argument is well; bollocks. Certainly backwards rather than forward thinking.
What surprises me most about the exciting new breed of high tech 'car' is how similar they are to what has gone before. For example, we are advised to place our children in rear facing child seats for as long as possible as this offers better protection in the more common frontal impacts So should all of the seats for adults as well face rearwards if there is no need to look at the road ahead? People travel facing backwards on trains without being violently sick after all. Or maybe a circular seating area that rotates depending on anticipated impacts to best protect the occupants like a waltzer is best? The brains of the latest Google car is already capable of this, according to thier own hype. I accept that these are unlikely practicable ideas but I do believe that there currently exists an opportunity to reinvent what we currently call the 'car' into something entirely new and better. What Google have shown the world so far is not it.
The dictionary definition of the word kudos is as follows:
praise and honour received for an achievement:
"she was looking for kudos rather than profit"
synonyms: prestige · cachet · glory · honour · status · standing ·
In automotive terms, Kudos is something that is earned by being exceptional, desirable and acclaimed and it requires some other worldly achievements to secure. A decades worth of rally dominance to convince the world that Audi were a serious force for example, look at what they have become today. If driver-less tech is adopted by the masses, then the first company to adopt the tech in a car that Noddy wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in, might stand a chance.
Google had better do some head scratching.