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How Transportation Will Look in the Next 50 Years? Essay

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Updated: Sep 7th, 2022

Introduction

Recently, the automotive industry has undergone various technological changes, resulting in the emergence of hybrid cars powered by gasoline and electricity (“How Do Hybrid Electric Cars Work?”). Moreover, electric cars have also emerged, although they are not very popular, especially in the developing countries. This essay proposes that cars will remain the most preferred means of transport in the next fifty years and will undergo even more technological changes in terms of how they are powered and what they can do. For instance, they will be fully electric, autonomous, and be able to fly.

Main body

By the year 2070, all cars might be running on green energy, although some suggest that the milestone might be realized sooner. For instance, McKerracher et al. state that “by 2040, over half of all passenger vehicles sold will be electric” (par. 3). Currently, only a few US companies manufacture fully electric vehicles, with most of them producing hybrids, which run on both gasoline and electricity. Most businesses prefer making hybrid vehicles to fully electric cars because the infrastructure required, such as charging systems and spare parts, is not well developed and deployed worldwide. Therefore, many customers, especially in developing countries, would not buy electric vehicles to avoid charging and repair problems. However, as technology advances, more and more companies will start producing fully electric vehicles encouraged by their improved penetration globally, and gasoline-fuelled vehicles will become obsolete. Therefore, it is highly likely that all vehicles will be fully electric by 2070.

Despite this advancement, other car-related technological improvements will also occur. For example, in half a century from today, vehicles will also be able to fly, although some scholars suggest that it might take a shorter time for car manufacturing companies to achieve this goal. For instance, Reed emphasizes that there might be at least “3,000 eVTOL commercial passenger vehicles in service six years from now, and as many as 98,000 of them flying by 2050” (par. 3). EVTOL refers to electrically powered vehicles that can fly vertically and horizontally without using runways. The companies developing this technology have stated that such vehicles will be necessary to reduce traffic jams, which are common in urban centers and major cities. Such development will be made possible by the huge financial investment companies have committed to manufacturing enabling technologies, such as electric motors and engines. Therefore, in 2070, it is highly likely that cars will be able to conveniently fly to avoid road congestion.

Moreover, in the coming century, motor vehicles will have other characteristics. For instance, in their near, future cars will also be fully autonomous. Simpson states that “at least 15 OEMs have pledged to release Level 4 AVs between 2019- 2025” (11). Original equipment manufacturers have made impressive strides in autonomous vehicle technology development. These cars can drive themselves from one point to another without or with little driver input. There are various vehicle autonomy levels, with level five being the highest and one being the lowest. Level five autonomous vehicles can completely drive themselves without any input from the driver, while other grades, such as stage four vehicles, require a kind of participation from the motorists. Due to the complete disengagement of level five vehicles from the driver, there have been various worries concerning driver, passenger, and pedestrian safety. However, with significant advancements in camera and radar technology, these concerns will be addressed, and the vehicles fully embraced in fifty years from today.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence, there are dissenting voices. For example, some scholars argue that due to the legal and policy obstacles facing technologies such as autonomy, some of these developments might not happen or may take longer than originally thought. For instance, Mofolasayo explains that people currently “do not have adequate infrastructure and technology to ensure people’s safety both on the ground and in the air ” (10). These concerns are genuine because flying cars can malfunction as any other machine, putting people’s lives in danger. However, this argument is not strong enough to prevent people from embracing this technology. Before this ability is fully developed, relevant government departments will have formulated the necessary rules and regulations protecting pedestrians against such accidents. Moreover, prior to any approvals are made, much testing will be done to assess the cars’ safety, and companies will have created the correcting technology to reduce these risks. Therefore, flying cars will most probably be in use towards the end of the century.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the US transport system will be very different in fifty years to come from the one it is today. Nevertheless, cars will still be the most preferred means of transport due to their unique qualities and capabilities, including fully running on electricity, flying, and driving themselves. However, there are concerns about both drivers’ and pedestrians’ safety due to unaddressed conflicts that might arise when the car is driving itself. Nonetheless, these issues will be addressed and will not exist in the future as technology continues to evolve. Therefore, the US government should put various regulations to make the transition smooth and encourage companies to innovate.

Works Cited

Alternative Fuels Data Center, Web.

McKerracher, Colin, et al. Bloomberg, 2020, Web.

Mofolasayo, Adekunle. “Potential Policy Issues with Flying Car Technology.” Transportation Research Procedia, vol. 48, 2020, pp. 8–22. Elsevier BV, Web.

Reed, Dan. Forbes. 2019, Web.

Simpson, Charlie, et al. KPMG International Cooperative, 2019, Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "How Transportation Will Look in the Next 50 Years?" September 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-transportation-will-look-in-the-next-50-years/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'How Transportation Will Look in the Next 50 Years'. 7 September.

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