Trying to predict precisely what happens in the future, in regards to anything – whether it’s humans, technology or the weather – remains still a bit of a guessing game, however the amount of variables that one has to purely guess upon are getting smaller and smaller as we get better prediction models to work with.
In this article we won’t be talking about anything that mired in the mists of the future, instead we’ll be talking about two highly possible developments in the car-making industry, for the very near- and medium-future, starting with the one more closest to us.
This particular piece of news comes from the European Union, which appears to be thinking that autonomous-emergency breaking systems are so widespread now and so useful that they should be a must-have feature on any car sold within the EU.
Antilock brakes and adaptive cruise-control systems are gaining in popularity and as such the EU is considering making them obligatory for all vehicles. There already is such a mandate in place for commercial vehicles, all of which will have to be equipped with such systems by November 2013, but when it comes to private automobiles, this isn’t that much of a mandate as is a really strong suggestion.
The reason for automakers to include such systems by default with every one of their cars is, that starting with 2014 the Euro NCAP – European New car Assessment Programme – will also include the assessment of the autonomous braking system when it comes to its crash-safety testing, and this means that only the vehicles equipped with such systems will be eligible of earning the very much-coveted five-star safety rating that the agency awards.
Now for the more far-in-the-distance future news, the US National Petroleum Council – NPC – has recently released a report in which it says that internal combustion engines are set to stay as the main power source for cars until at least the middle of the 21st century.
It is true that electric and hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technologies have seen some solid advancements in the past decade, however combustion engines have not stood still either, becoming more fuel efficient and mixing and matching technologies so that hybrids, plug-ins and natural gas engines will still have a solid foothold on the market till about 2050.
It’s much too early to identify what the precise ‘fuel of the future’ is, current technologies still need to mature, and there is no doubt that further developments in the future might overturn this projection, but as it stands now, this is a good of a projection as any.
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