A prediction of what the future could hold for drivers in 2037
Predicting the future of motoring is a notoriously difficult task. Many people believed that the 21st century would bring a revolution in transport that was never realised. Had we been able to show a car of today to someone during the 1950s, for example, then my bet is they’d most likely be disappointed with its inability to fly.
The truth is that most cars of today, with their four wheels, metal bodywork and internal combustion engines; hold an astonishing amount in common with designs harking back over a century beforehand.
That’s not to say that cars of today aren’t utter masterpieces of engineering. More than 100 years of refinement has seen internal combustion engines transition from clunky, inefficient and yet hugely charismatic machines into sophisticated computer-controlled devices that can extract phenomenal power from minimal fuel.
Modern cars are reliable enough to scale the world’s harshest environment, safe enough to allow us to walk away from brutal impacts and even smart enough to prevent such impacts from even happening in the first place. But we’ve still got a long way to go.
This article aims to accurately predict what motoring will be like in twenty years from now, looking at topics that affect us all. These are simply predictions but feel free to bookmark this page and burn me in the comments section in a couple of decades’ time.
Car ownership in 2037
The prevalence of lease and finance deals means that in 2037 only a tiny minority of drivers will own their cars outright. Instead, many people will see cars in a similar light to mobile phones, where small deposits and annual payments allow entry into relatively risk-free ownership.
Certain manufacturers will offer clubs for those who want access to multiple models and these app-based communities will be particularly popular amongst the image conscious.
Cars in 2037
Expect many of today’s popular technology manufacturers to get into the car game while many may merge with existing car companies in order to survive.
Government incentives, scrappage schemes and aggressive taxes will speed up an already rapid shift to hybrid and electric power.
Advancements in 3D printing and composite materials will make cars cheaper to build, stronger and lighter than ever before while incredibly efficient and reliable cells will be used to power motors – usually at each wheel–for traction and torque vectoring control. Small, forced-induction internal combustion engines will be used to assist motors in some performance applications but anything that burns fossil fuels will incur significant taxation.
Active suspension systems will become the norm leading to exemplary body control and ride comfort.
Safety regulations will see all new cars fitted with cameras capable of recording at 360 degrees, with all data being backed up to cloud servers owned by insurance companies. In the event of an accident, the claim will be automatically processed using this evidence.
The ability to drive autonomously will be mandatory on new models by 2037, while manually controlled cars will remain the choice of the enthusiast.
Certain models will feature removable cells that can be used to power electric bicycles which tuck neatly into the car, providing a mobility solution that will ease congestion in built up areas.
Car maintenance in 2037
Regenerative braking systems and a lack of transmissions will see consumable items such as clutches and brake pads become almost a thing of the past. The real money will come from the replacement, refurbishment and recycling of battery packs.
Older vehicles will likely be broken down into scrap or shipped off to less developing countries for recycling.
Road infrastructure in 2037
Driverless cars will become a big problem, not the cars themselves but the fact that so many are literally without passengers. People summoning their cars to pick them up during peak times will lead to a bizarre ghost train scenarios on the roads.
Mandatory tracking technologies will provide authorities with all they need to know about any major incidents and any unruly behaviour. Most public transport will be fully automated.
Petrol pumps will be reaching antique status, in their place rapid charge stations and battery exchange facilities, which will swap your depleted cells for fully charged ones in a matter of seconds.
Attitudes towards driving in 2037
Here’s one that petrolheads like me will finding it particularly hard to get our heads around. Manually driving will be a conscious choice in 2037, and it’s likely to be one that will be discouraged from a lot of angles.
You see, once autonomous vehicles become a majority then the time it takes to commute will likely become perceived in the same way as train travel in that it provides the traveller time to relax or – more commonly – to work.
Safety campaigners will be using accident stats to try and ban manual driving while faster travelling vehicles will force governments and local police forces to physically enforce speed limits in certain areas, something that will be easy to do thanks to a reliance on GPS technology.
Classic car owners will see the use of their vehicles restricted to certain roads only, while sky high insurance and fuel costs will see that most will remain in museums.
Car crime in 2037
Hacking from organised crime groups will lead to the unauthorised absence of many vehicles. The theft of valuable battery packs will become common.
Older cars such as the ones used today will become the vehicles of choice for criminals who prefer to be kept off the grid from new age policing.
So, there you have it, 2037 is shaping up to be an altogether different world for us who love cars. Enjoy cars of today, enjoy the smell of a rich running petrol engine on a cold morning, enjoy the way your car tracks a road’s broken surface. Do not dread the day you take your car to the garage to see a person who will fix its mechanical parts with their own hands. As car enthusiasts, we all hold a responsibility to make sure that driving itself doesn’t become a passenger.