LinhPTK | May 17, 2017
The automobiles of today, whether museum articles or rust collectors, seem to many of us like bastions of lifestyle and liberty, expressive of the personal choice and personal freedom we hold near and dear to our hearts. Vehicles in our modern world have become more than objects. They are now subjects of our passion, our closest of enablers, and among our hardiest of companions, collectively journeying billions upon billions of miles with us as our protectors and confidants. Just like people, however, vehicles remain imperfect, frequently the fodder of dispute by politicians, social planners, and environmental lobbyists, in addition to the general public.
At the heart of these disputes lie two key issues: sustainability and vehicle safety. Concern over these topics is not without reason. Crude oil and human life are both exhaustible resources that hold great value to civilization. Currently, over seventy percent of the oil used in the United States is for fueling transportation, at a net cost to the nation’s economy of over $300 billion per year. Meanwhile, over 6 million motor vehicle collisions occur per year in the U.S., causing more than four fatalities per hour, every hour. No matter how cunning, seductive, exciting, and practical automobiles seem to us, the truth is that they remain dangerous and inefficient in their everyday application.
Wherever opportunity for innovation exists, alongside it can be found the potential for fame and fortune, leading engineers and manufacturers across the globe to not only be aware of the problems with current automobile design, but in constant pursuit of the ground-breaking technology that will allow them to stay on top of the market. World-renowned inventor and scientist Jacque Fresco has this to say about the evolution of cars:
“Vehicles of the future will be highly aerodynamic in shape…giving you the maximum distance for minimum fuel consumption.”
This is by no stretch of the imagination a new or emerging concept, but Fresco has gone on to emphasize its importance by producing drawings and three dimensional models that illustrate his vision for efficiency and sustainability. Reliant on a grasp of available technologies and resources which exceeds that of most, Fresco’s lectures and designs are perhaps before their time, but certainly representative of the outside-the-box type of thinking that will be necessary for the vehicle manufacturers of tomorrow.
In addition to outlining the potential for wind, wave, and tidal energy sources to entirely eliminate the need for using fossil fuels, Fresco has advocated the embrace of such varied technologies as shape memory alloys and automated robotronics, illuminating the possibility of future vehicles that drive, maintain, and repair themselves, as well as vehicles which could avoid collisions with the use of electronic distance detection, and travel at higher speeds by repelling air with magnetism. Many of the ideas found in Fresco’s work are already being put to use inside the walls of design studios and manufacturing plants, with more sure to follow.
It remains to be seen whether the supply of safe, sustainable transportation will be able to meet the ever more stringent demand of an increasingly environmentally conscious population. With technological evolution aligned by the strengths of such innovators as Fresco, however, a future remains vividly possible in which our desire to express ourselves with automobiles may still be fulfilled, and with more meaning than ever before.