The car revolution – what you can expect from the future on four wheels

With the words of John Lydon, MotorChase starts this series of articles humbly stating “I could be wrong”, but also implying “I could be right”. And this will be my effort in thinking about what seems to be emerging for the automobile, the industry that produces it and the consumers as a whole. A true car revolution waits just ahead of us.

Since its creation, the car has been basically the same thing: a self propelled vehicle equipped with four wheels, a steering wheel, pedals and an internal combustion engine. At least that was the formula that won the initial dispute over what was really feasible in the 1890s. And the best way to accumulate energy was with fuels. Electric cars have tried to prevail, but batteries were very inefficient and the game changer had not appear at the time: electronics.

Some carmakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, have tried to replace pedals and the steering wheel for joysticks, one in each side of the driver seat (for left and right-handed people), but that would imply every command of the car to be run “by wire”, with no mechanical connections to brakes and steering. So far, the only mechanical command drivers have accepted to give up has been the accelerator.

Airplanes, on the other hand, have adopted by wire commands for a long time now. And they constitute “the safest transportation means”, according to statistics. They also have autopilots, a feature that is on the verge of commercial presentation for cars and that still brings arises more doubts than answers. And are only one of the many revolutions the car world is about to face.

None of the changes that will be discussed in this series is a futurology exercise. All of them can be implemented right away. The technology needed for that is not the issue. Economic, legal and usage and customs questions are much more important to make them a reality. Please join me in this fascinating journey to foresee a new model of mobility.

Read the other Car Revolution articles:

The car revolution – what you can expect from the future on four wheels (this one)

The car revolution – Part 1 – Electric motors will propel everyone (and everything)

The car revolution – Part 2 – Ownership will change so radically it will probably disappear

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.