Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Future of the Car

This special online edition of Popular Science titled 'The Future of the Car':

"We have reached an odd, maybe unique point in the history of technology, when the distant future is easier to imagine than the more proximate months and years ahead. Fifty years from now, most parties would agree, hydrogen fuel cell technology will power our world—everything from artificial organs to cruise ships and certainly our automobiles. By then we will have figured out how to produce cheap, CO2-neutral hydrogen—perhaps by using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power to electrolyze water, perhaps with synthetic fuels (bio-ethanol and bio-diesel), perhaps by sequestering carbon from fossil feed stocks such as coal, perhaps with some fairy dust as yet undiscovered. By then the fuel cell industry will be sufficiently advanced to build very compact hydrogen tanks with enormous energy density, and fuel cells that are cheap enough for economy cars and robust enough for chilly northern climates—assuming global warming hasn’t already taken care of that problem for us..

...The automobile will at last fulfill the promise resonant in the words “autonomous mobility.” Mass transit as we think of it now will seem as wrongheaded as eugenics. Automobiles’ quantum-computer cores will be the archives of our memory, our machine adjuncts, our confidantes, in ways so profound and personal as to mock today’s limited PDA phones. We will have merged with our cars."

Other articles on the future of the automobile available here

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