Drivers have always been divided. There are those who love cars and enjoy driving them. Then there are the people who merely see a car as something to get them from A to B. Many of us want our cars to be practical, economical and environmentally friendly. But for the first group, there will always be one other important aspect to consider when getting in a car that possibly trumps all the others: it has to be fun. I believe the future of motoring still is.
The world has now spent decades talking about the options for cars once fossil fuels run out or become too expensive. In reality, we are still a long way off that. Whether we move to electric, hydrogen or an as-yet-undiscovered power, it is likely to be a gradual shift for us.
Is Autonomous The Future We Want?
In recent years, top of the agenda for the future of motoring has been autonomous vehicles. What tends to spring to mind are robot-type vehicles, with no human interaction required. Another option is vehicles driving themselves with no occupants at all. The latter certainly seems like a possibility in the future. Delivery drivers are likely to be out of a job. Anything that can’t be sent by a drone will turn up in a driverless van. This feels like one of the more practical uses for autonomous vehicles. However, personal journeys are a tad different. Sitting in a car that drives itself, where you merely have to enter a destination, seems a little, well, dull.
It would be foolish to deny how autonomous driving is already starting to sneak into our cars. So far, they are all aspects I very much approve of as they are largely designed with safety in mind. Automatic braking, parking sensors and lane assist systems are all helping to make our driving safer. If we can continue driving but get rid of the potential for accidents caused by human error, then autonomous safety features could continue to be popular.
The Future of Motoring Is Connected
Intelligent vehicles are part of the future of motoring and these are not the only technologies moving into our cars now. New vehicles come with infotainment systems and are becoming connective hubs. The future of motoring will undoubtedly include the Internet of Things, enabling vehicles to send and receive data. GPS has arguably been one of the biggest changes to how many people drive. However, as cars connect to the internet a whole other realm of possibilities opens up. Your car can find the nearest or cheapest petrol station, read out breaking news and garages can remotely diagnose vehicle issues. A connected car seems much more ideal over an autonomous one.
But How Does Driving Feel?
Overall, I believe most drivers will want to retain a degree of control over their vehicles, even if this becomes optional. Our driving has too much passion and sentimentality invested in it. Driving is a physical connection with the beautiful beast you are in control of. It all starts out so complicated when you have to consciously think through everything but then one day you suddenly realise it has become automatic. You are completely in control of this magnificent machinery. That is when you truly start to enjoy driving, that is when it becomes fun.
Your first knocked-about hatchback, the clapped out motor you’ve managed to keep going for years, the sleek machine you fell in love with on the forecourt or the supercar track day experience. Every one of them sends something through you. The first growl of the engine, the crunch of gravel beneath the tyres, then sensing the climbing revs and working through the gears. The wind, the rush of growing speed on a long, straight, empty road, gripping the steering wheel tight as the g-force hits you swinging round a corner and more, so much more. The brain flips a switch when you sit in the driving seat. Ultimately, cars are driven not be fuel, not by engines, not by gears, but by emotions. The future of motoring is fun and driving is about feeling everything.
I’ve written this as part of Innovation Company’s study on what bloggers see as the future of cars – http://innovationcompany.co.uk