Cars have undeniably become an integral part of modern day living. The automotive industry is one of the few that has managed to sustain its power during the economic crisis and it shows little sign of slowing down in the years to come.
At this rate, it has been estimated that as many as four billion cars will be on our roads by 2050 and while they may make our everyday lives easier, this influx in production and usage will no doubt also come with a host of negative implications; from heavily congested traffic clogging the streets to unprecedented levels of pollution contaminating the environment. Luckily, car manufacturers are well aware of the predicted future of the industry and have already begun to respond by developing a number of countermeasures.
Big cars and trucks not only demand more space when driving and parking but they are also known to emit higher levels of C02 emissions. This means that in the not so distant future; we may literally struggle to make room for all the cars in use if current model sizes continue. Models like the M.I.T. CityCar are currently in development to reduce the risk of such a problem. By being considerably smaller than compact cars available on the market now, they are even capable of folding to allow three CityCars to park in a space that would currently accommodate just one standard sized car.
Manufacturers are also working to enhance the existing technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other via signals. By essentially granting a car the same intelligence as a robot, vehicles could safely travel on the road at much closer proximity by maintaining closely monitored speeds and distances from other cars nearby. With cars more-or-less programmed to drive themselves in congested areas, passengers would be at less risk on highly occupied roads.
In response to growing distaste for rising fuel costs and increased concern over harmful pollutants, most manufacturers have begun development – or at least conceptualisation – of more fuel efficient vehicles. The electric powered Nissan Leaf is one of the most widely known examples and with 55000 units having been sold already, the company hopes to expand this sustainable niche market into the world’s leading type of car.
In addition to less environmentally harmful final products, many manufacturers - notably Audi - have worked to develop more sustainable methods of production. With factories emitting less fumes and their cars now being made from 95% recyclable materials, the automotive industry has already started down the long road towards greener methods that will protect the environment in the generations to come.
While the carbon footprint of the ever growing car industry may well and truly have engrained itself onto the planet, widespread knowledge of the imperative nature of the issue has at last sparked action to stop it from causing any more harm. In the future, we will hopefully be able to enjoy our cars without the guilt of possible repercussions.