5 future cars you may be driving soon
As conceived by the best and brightest young car designers in the country, here are 5 futuristic conveyances that you might see sometime down the road.
Commuter car designed by Paul Hoste
As automotive design programs at colleges across North America are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, the students they attract are producing higher-level work than ever before. Each institute has its own superstars who are on the cutting edge of today's styles and technology. These designers are looking ahead to the distant and not-so-distant future, creating innovative mechanical masterpieces ranging from micro commuter cars to sleek and stylish pickup trucks to entire transportation systems that use podlike vehicles. Here are five student designs from some of the top automotive design programs around the country — designs that could very well be road-ready within the next decade.
Designers: Selim Benhabib and Taehoon Kim
School: Pratt Institute, New York
Selim Benhabib and Taehoon Kim — originally from Turkey and South Korea, respectively — envision a world in which transportation is both public and private at the same time. For their senior thesis project, the industrial-design majors teamed up to devise a new way to travel up and down New York's Hudson River Drive. "We wanted the traveler to have privacy, but also be part of a community," Benhabib says. To that end, their proposed system is made up of a series of autonomous one-person pods. Riders can pick-up or drop-off a pod at designated kiosks along the predetermined route on Manhattan's West Side, just as they would, say, use a subway station or bus stop. Operation of the vehicles is automated through an intuitive onboard computer, allowing passengers to travel leisurely.
Because they don't have to pay attention to the road, riders in the system can communicate with each other through a unique smartphone application-based social-networking system. "It lets you see who's 'on lane' and talk or video chat with them," Benhabib says. You'll also be able to strike up conversations with strangers around you by electronically "poking" them through the pod's computer system. Benhabib and Kim say the price of a ride would depend on the distance traveled and how much energy used. But they are hoping "it will cost somewhere between a subway ride and a taxi ride," Benhabib says.
Designer: Michael Canty
School: Academy of Art University, San Francisco
At San Francisco's Academy of Art University, students in the transportation-design program focus all of their efforts on electric vehicles. While we think that is shortsighted, junior Michael Canty says being so specialized frees students from the constraints of the typical internal-combustion engine, especially its size and weight. "With electric cars, you don't have to worry about how much room the engine takes up, so you can get as much interior space in a microcar as you would in a larger sedan," Canty says.
His dream machine is a 6-foot-wide, 10-foot-long battery-powered microcar that can seat four people. To put that size in perspective: It's shorter than a MINI Cooper but longer than a smart fortwo. It is propelled by electric motors placed inside each wheel. In addition to regenerative braking, the car's batteries are also charged through kinetic energy. The vehicle's suspension system was inspired by Seiko's Kinetic Drive Technology, which is used in the company's current generation of watches. "This system provides sufficient energy to drive their watches with the flick of the wrist," Canty explains. "Similar technology can be utilized to convert physical suspension travel into electricity, which charges the vehicle's battery packs and extends its range. Hypothetically, as the vehicle goes further, the further it goes."
Despite the car's diminutive size, it's designed to be highly visible on the road. It has a high profile — a vertical design that puts passengers at the same height as a Jeep. Canty, a former aircraft-carrier jet mechanic and airplane captain in the Marine Corps, used what he calls a "layered defense" seating design so that passengers would each have the feeling of being in control. The lowest occupant is the driver, seated in the center front of the car, and each passenger behind him gets higher by four inches so they can all see over each other's heads.
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I think the designs are pretty close to what the cars of the future, and near future will look like. Just keep in mind that these are concepts and nothing final. Things change whether we like it or not; technology, and cars too. As far as cars go, some times the change is good, and some times its bad. If you like the new car when it comes out, and you can afford it, buy it. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
Usually, the people that don't like something are the ones that can't afford it anyway for one reason or another.
To all the people injecting politics into this post. Can we please have a fun article about cars without the political party crap. Give it a break, everything isn't about whether or not your a left or right, conservative or liberal. Technology is fun and prototype cars are cool to check out. I love Smart Phones, GPS, Tablets, 1080I inch thick tv, internet, MP3 players, wireless networks and I could go on. If you are Amish or hate technology don't buy it. Move to the woods get a cabin, hunt, fish and live off the land. ooops gotta go just got a txt.
Well.. for all those who are criticizing... there was once a time when people made fun of a man who said "there'd be a button on the wall, which you can press and the whole room can lighten up... yes even at night, and it will be much brighter than candles !!!" He was declared crazy and died.. and then we had Light bulbs invented...
Real future actually turns out better than a fictionalized one.
This is what happens when you give people iPhones. They get stupid, then they write articles like this, and actually believe them.
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