It's something we'd all like to know; what does the future hold for us? While we can't tell you that, we can give you an idea of
how the future of driving is shaping up. With lots of exciting technology in the pipeline, we look at what, where and how we'll be driving in 20, 30, 40 years' time.
We've all seen visions of the future in sci-fi films and on TV. Sleek, driverless cars cruising around neon metropolises; some on the road, others on electric grids and some even in the air. We know, it all sounds ridiculous, right? Wrong. It seems these technologies may not be as fanciful as once thought.
OK, we're not holding our breath for a flying car just yet, but our list below looks at the technologies that could well change the face of driving in the years ahead.
The idea of owning a car and not actually driving the thing may sound alien to some - what about the feeling of hitting the open road? The thrill of taking control and going wherever you want? It seems the once-impossible-to-imagine prospect of a driverless car could well become a reality. And it may not be all that long before we get to see it in action.
Manufacturers have already begun developing the technology, and some of it is already pretty advanced. We already have assisted parking and the like, and manufacturers are falling over each other to be the first to get the cars - sometimes called driverless, sometimes automated, sometimes hands-free - on the road.
The general concept is that the cars will make driving safer, more environmentally-friendly and more enjoyable, especially in gridlocked cities where the joy of driving is often restricted by endless traffic jams. They aim to make happier drivers by presenting the choice of driving or relaxing. Instead of concentrating at the wheel, why not watch some TV or read a book?
It certainly sounds intriguing, but also raises questions. How will it work? If the cars follow maps, how easy is it to create and maintain these? Will/can they cover everywhere? Can cars understand subtle social interactions, such as another driver letting you go? Is there a risk of your car being hacked?!
These are all questions to be asked. But one thing's for sure; it's going to be fun finding out the answers.
What will cars of the future look like?
With the rate of technological change happening at the moment, don't be surprised if your car looks considerably different in 30 years' time than it does today. That said, the function of the vehicle will remain the same, and so it's a safe bet it'll still have four wheels and a steering wheel of some sort (a joystick perhaps?), as well as enough seats and space to get you from A to B.
However, it is likely steel will be replaced by a more lightweight material, and designs will become more imaginative as we move away from the traditional design of a vehicle first invented well over 100 years ago.
Voice command and mobility networks
Back in the 80s, watching Michael Knight conversing with his car KITT in Knight Rider may have seemed super cool/very silly (delete as appropriate), but it now seems increasingly likely that voice command in cars could soon be something not just for David Hasselhoff to enjoy.
After all, we're increasingly using voice command on our smartphones, playstations or smart TVs. It only follows that what we expect from our smart devices we'll soon expect from our cars (especially if and when they start driving themselves). Likewise, as we increasingly use our smartphones as part of a shared mobility network, logging on to our various social media accounts on the go, it is likely this will expand to our driving. Might we soon be able to hail a self-driving shared vehicle or a instantly grab a lift from one of our social media friends?
Eco-friendly road paving
Away from the cars themselves, attempts to make every aspect of driving more environmentally-friendly continues apace, and even stretches to the type of road surfaces used. Currently, road surfaces are made via the laying of asphalt, which is composed predominantly of the substance bitumen. However, this is not considered the most eco-friendly option and the race is on to develop something a lot more sustainable.
Asphalt requires lots of maintenance and is both resource and energy-intensive. Scientists are therefore trying weird and wonderful ways to make improvements. There has been talk of using printer toner waste, cooking oil and algae. We're not going to lie; they all sound a bit weird to us. But if they can help improve our road surfaces and make the driving experience all the more enjoyable, we're certainly not going to complain.
We may not know what the future will bring, but we can't wait to find out!