This rough concept, based on mixing driverless car technology, deeply embedded systems, and a radical design concept (that involves rotating front seats) shows what’s possible for the next generation of automobiles.
It’s pretty straightforward:
Driverless Car Technology
The car is completely driverless, using a mix of radar and GPS technology. This technology is already developed and is in the beta testing phase.
The car has embedded systems (what some now refer to as “The Internet of Things;” They both mean the same thing). It is when technology is seamlessly integrated into everyday objects, so that what you end up with is basically everything being a part of the same massive, connected system. Things like refrigerators, tabletops, or walls are all a part of the system.
Everything becomes a device, integrating technology to enhance whatever the object is, and since it is all connected, the individual components can be monitored and controlled remotely. There is essentially no difference between your TV, your computer, your smart phone, your wearable technology, a wall on your house with a screen set into it, and eventually, even your (driverless) car.
Google (and just about every major tech company) is working on ways to do this and bring prices down. This technology becoming the “mainstream” solution for average consumers will mark a revolutionary shift in the way we experience life.
If you are a Star Trek geek like me, think of on Star Trek: The Next Generation, where people on the ship would just say “computer,” no matter where they were, and could perform any function of the computer — right from that very spot. The computer, built into the ship, demonstrates embedded systems at partial capacity. That’s possible within a decade, if all the major players do their part.
Eventually, everything in society becomes connected. This creates an entirely new Minority Report society (with the good aspects, not the bad).
Radical New Design of Automobiles
Combining driverless technology and the embedded systems, this creates options for automakers that were never conceived of. I’m not saying that this is the way all cars will be like in the future, I am merely suggesting one possibility:
The front seats of the car can rotate to face backwards. Obviously, this option has never been considered before, because now someone needs to be driving the car. However, since that will no longer be needed, it opens up a new option available in future automobiles, actually bringing families closer together.
With the front seats of the car rotated to face backwards, and the driving automatic, a central table or console could be used for various purposes:
- A centrally located console could double as a table where the family eats lunch at, together.
- The car drives itself: a legal wine tasting, anyone?
- A dual-sided screen mounted there, where the family could watch a movie together.
- The dual-sided screen could be synced up for displaying the same image on both sides for a movie or TV show that passengers want to watch together, or each side could be used independently.
- The kids in the backseat are playing a video game, while a parent in the front seat uses their side of the screen to look up something on the Internet, or they work on a project that they would today use a laptop PC for (not if they were driving).
FYI: I am NOT an artist and this picture is an extremely rough drawing of the concept car. However, I think it gets the point across about what could be possible in cars soon. With a car like this, it won’t matter if the driver has wearable tech or not, since the car will be doing the driving.
The Future is Coming Soon
These technologies, individually, are in a mere testing and cost reduction phase, so it is not as if anything is that far off from happening. The technology needed for this radical design of a car is available now, it has just never been considered due to the current need for a driver to drive the vehicle. With the driver out of the equation, this concept and a variety of other radical concepts become a realistic possibility.
Technology Removes the Humanity from Society… and Then Brings it Back Better Than Ever
This example proves a major point that I have pushed for a while now that most people have a tough time believing:
For a time, technology will make society less social, individuals glued to their smartphones checking their Social Network updates or playing games. However, once we reach the next phase of technological innovation, we will be able to use technology to not only bring society back together, but enable us to do things together that were never imagined.
This is another concept that will evolve as a result of these devices having technology integrated into them. I call it automatic technology: a device’s ability to “know” where you are and what you are doing, and it intuitively and automatically switches “command” over from one system to another.
- You wake up, and check the built-in display in the wall for today’s weather.
- Your refrigerator let’s you know that the milk you purchased on Tuesday is going to expire soon and automatically sends a reminder to the core system.
- You grab your Google Glasses, which automatically power on upon being touched, and shuts down the computer system being used on the wall.
- As you are walking to your car, your brother calls you on your Google Glasses, and allows you to speak to him via earpiece.
- Once you enter your car, the call automatically shifts to the car’s large screen for a face-to-face chat.
- The gasses automatically power down to save battery life.
- When you exit the vehicle, power is automatically restored to the glasses.
- When you are driving home from work, a reminder pops up on the car’s display, when you pass by the grocery store, that you need to buy more milk.
Technology is a Tool: It Should Work for You, Not the Other Way Around
The examples and possibilities of this are endless. Everything made so that going through every aspect of life is incredibly intuitive, which will make the entire society more productive.