Cars are here to stay. In fact we're going to have even more of them. The standard family house should have a 3-car garage, not a 2-car garage. Cars will be hybrid, with electric motors per wheel instead of drive trains. Each wheel can turn 360 degrees. The car knows how to parallel park itself: go parallel to the spot, turn wheels 90 degrees, and go in. They can park in the garage themselves with nobody inside them. If you currently have a 2-car, 18'x18' garage and 5.5'x15' cars, then you can get out of the car at the front of the garage, let the car park itself, and thereby fit 3 cars in your current 2 car garage. Similarly, today's parking lots will hold more cars in the future. I don't know how roads will cope, though.
Another thing cars will have in the future is video cameras. Several of them, mounted on the roof and bumpers and inside the car. Any accident will be captured on video from several relevant angles. So will any checkups by the police, all dings, all people leaning against your car, and if you want even what has happened in your back seat over the past week. Tiny inexpensive video cameras with cheap memory guarantee this.
Articles were discussing the Google self-driving car, and one of them suggested that these would be be scheduled like a taxi rather than owned. And I assume human-driven cars would be outlawed. This made sense to me:
It'd be a lot like a city with very good public transportation, except:
Everything in the car would be videod. Parents would want to check on their children being ferried to soccer practice, and car companies would want proof of who spilled grape juice on the seats.
What does this mean for suburbs versus inner cities? Old inner cities with narrow streets and inadequate garages would become adequate again (at least in terms of transportation). Cities with undergrounds might stick with undergrounds; they interfere with pedestrians less than cars do. Current suburbs would have too much land dedicated to cars. They'd repurpose their garages and driveways. It's possible that suburban streets would be narrowed, since they don't need cars parked along them, allowing yards to be wider. Sounds to me like an improvement to both cities and suburbs.
American culture would have to change: owning a car would no longer be the way for a guy to prove his manhood. The guy doesn't actually own the car. Kindergarteners can rent a car. If the guy tries making out with his girl in the back seat, it'll be videod and his parents would seen it. The whole car culture would likely die. You'd get more status from your suitcase than your car.
Well, I suppose you could still pay extra to always rent fast red cars. Music has already died this way (everyone plays radios instead of instruments), yet some people still identify themselves with the music they play. You're identified by your choices, then, instead of your skills or capabilities.
I don't know if all cars would be government owned, or if there would be competing taxi services. I suspect there would be competing taxi services, some offering different flavors of car and driving experiences. If all cars were owned by the government, I don't think you could special order the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile to take you to the prom, but with competing taxi services I bet you could. Paying extra for fashion makes this sound like a permanently profitable industry.
Bob Predicts the Future
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