Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 14, Cars.

Image derived via clipart.

You’ll find the introduction to this series here.

This post looks at Cars.

Globally, we humans are wedded to cars, see them as almost a right. As a means of transport, they combine convenience, privacy, flexibility, and some degree of freedom, no matter how artificial that may be. But they come at enormous cost to the environment, society, wildlife, equality. Will the future bring enhancements to their use, or simply increase the disparities already existing between the haves and have-nots?

Technically, will they change into devices that impact little on the environment? Is it possible they will become available for all to use; self-driving vehicles, even perhaps flying; rented, owned? Will your mobile phone connect with the nearest suitable vehicle, direct it to your location, and drive or fly you to your destination, deducting the cost of the service from your credit account at the end of the journey?

In a further future, will it become possible to hire a self-navigating vehicle to take you on a voyage to the Moon, Mars?

Or will cities and the connecting airways become so congested with such vehicles they become unusable? Will future commuters spend their days in endless traffic jams, unable to escape the logic of the machine that must take them to their destination regardless of how protracted that journey may become?

There is potential for further freedom for the car user, but there is also potential for greater disparity between those who have the means and those who are denied it. Will such inequality bring about rioting, revolution, violent vengeance?

These are some suggestions I make for consideration if you’re including the common theme of cars in your story. I’m sure you can think of many more. Please feel free to let us know your ideas, using the comment space below the post.

Part 1, Introduction and Accommodation. Part 2, Activism. Part 3, Advertising. Part 4, Agriculture. Part 5, Artificial Intelligence. Part 6, Animals, as Pets. Part 7, Art. Part 8, Authority. Part 9, Banking. Part 10, Beauty. Part 11, Blasphemy. Part 12, Business. Part 13, Capitalism.

Research examples:

11 thoughts on “Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 14, Cars.

  1. According to me, flying cars MUST have an auto-pilot feature, where one just enters (or speaks) his/her destination. Otherwise, everyone is a pilot. Also, these cars should have external sensors to detect an object outside. That way, they can avoid a collision. This technology (to be able to detect its own spatial position) is already there in drones. They fly as synchronized flocks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlFtHuXPbv4).

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    1. I agree, Asit. Auto-pilot and radar location detection would be essential (both are current technology in cars, and under development for the future of self-driving vehicles). But the danger from flying cars could relate to the numbers and the inevitable failure of technical systems. On the road, even in a self-drive vehicle, most people could guide a faulty car to the kerb side and out of danger. In the case of a flying car, that would be more problematical. Another idea for a story, perhaps?

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  2. I’ve always liked cars (and airplanes!) but am increasingly interested in the electric versions. Our next (and probably last vehicle) will be electric. My home province of BC is starting to have plug-ins everywhere. In the north, hydrogen would make more sense as it gets too cold here for electric vehicles to work very well. Electricity has been a difficult (and continues to be) engineering prospect for flight, especially the long-haul versions of aircraft, but progress is being made, a bit at a time.

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    1. I think I already have my final vehicle, Lynette. We do around 3,000 miles a year in a small petrol car that does 60+ to the gallon. By the time it needs replacing, I’ll be over 80. I’m hoping by then we’ll be able to summon an electric car to come and collect us and deliver us where we need to go.
      The progress on electric and hydrogen powered vehicles, including aircraft is finally really getting going. Transport is a major contributor to global climate change, so the sooner we can fix this issue, the better for all. And with the new technology air pollution, currently a major cause of early death, will reduce significantly.
      Had the research started back in the 1980s when Greenpeace first flagged the coming dangers, we might all be driving electric vehicles now. But politics has always lagged behind the science.

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  3. As you have read in my books, I write a lot about them. Not just cars, but the entire transportation and travel industry will be impacted by flying cars (yes, it’s all a pipedream now, but it may happen in the future). The definition and functionality of seaports and airports will change.

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    1. I understand the attraction of the flying car, Asit. I worry about the potential for significant accident rates with millions of vehicles speeding through streets in crowded cites. There are also privacy issues; activities can be recorded from above without ever breaking through normal security and private boundaries. But I agree; it will happen. We can but hope those placed in charge will ensure sensible, workable, and safe regulation is put in place before problems occur rather than as a kneejerk reaction after people have been killed as is usually the case.


      1. It’s very unlikely that there will be “flying cars” à la George Jetson. The skills needed (and the requirements that have to be met) for flying are very different from those needed for driving. I could see a form of mass transit that utilises flying, however.

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          1. There have been a number of futuristic ideas put forward by authors for mass transit in cities. My feeling is the most likely solution would be the above surface tube, with frictionless hover-rail travel at high speeds. It wouldn’t work everywhere, but would probably be the most easily engineered solution. More ideas for stories here, of course.

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