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Visions of the future, by futurist concept artist Ersan Seer

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Automated Cars Will Redefine “Home” – Driverless Cars (Part 4/6)

Automated Cars Interior

This article is the fourth in a series about driverless, autonomous cars—that is, cars with the intelligence and technology to drive themselves (and you) safely to your destination—and how these vehicles will completely change your notion of travel, work and home.

  1. Google’s Driverless Cars Will Change Everything
  2. How Future Autonomous Cars Will Change Travel
  3. Automated Vehicles Will Change How We Work
  4. Automated Cars Will Redefine “Home”
  5. Design & Technology of Autonomous Vehicles of the Future
  6. Consequences of Intelligent Transport

Inside your automated car of the future, you’ll be able to do anything that you currently do at home.

There will be toilets, reclining chairs, huge monitor displays, vanities, a small wardrobe, even mini laundry machines in the luxury models.

An indoor putting green. House plants. A canary.

Your automated car will essentially be a smaller, mobile extension of your home.

There are 2 current-day analogies which really exemplify what will happen:

  • Look at how multi-purpose mobile phones have overtaken—and often replaced—land-line telephones.
  • Look at how laptops have replaced desktop computers.

The same thing will happen with homes. Some people—likely college kids and twenty-somethings who can’t afford a brick & mortar home, or have no need for one—will live entirely out of their automated vehicle. It will be similar to how the younger and lower-income demographics were some of the first to abandon land-line telephones.

Maybe they’ll consider everywhere to be their home, much the same way freelancers armed with laptops can now consider the coffeeshop a perfectly acceptable “office”.

And for the people with brick & mortar homes and automated cars?

There will evolve a smooth transition between car and home.

To extend the phone analogy, this would be like call forwarding from your home phone to your cell phone.

Your automated car will be able to easily integrate into your house. No need to walk outside in freezing weather at 6am; ideally, the car will inhabit a wall of your living room. By default it will be opened up and part of the house’s interior. When you depart inside your car, it will encapsulate you and the wall of the house will close behind you.

I imagine this would happen most prominently with apartments, where space and short distance from residence to car are commodities.

Residential parking lots that we see in apartment complexes, therefore, would begin to become obsolete.

I see no reason that automated cars can’t evolve to climb the sides of apartment buildings and open up into residences as well.

Each residential building would be connected directly to a roadway. A high-tech, automated transportation grid will connect every residence for computer-calculated, fluid, efficient travel.

Probably developing as a better alternative to elevators, the wall-climbing feature of automated cars will certainly be in high demand—because in the future, more people will reside in apartments than do now. Stand-alone homes will be reserved for the wealthy.

Why I think Cities Will Grow Up Instead of Sideways

Nanotechnology is empowering us to develop stronger, lighter building materials which will allow us to engineer far taller buildings than anything we have today. New York City, therefore, may be able to hold 30 million people (today it’s 8.2 million) without growing much in girth.

I believe the natural inclination for most city-dwellers is to be in the heart of the action, close to work and nightlife. Therefore, when greater technology permits it, more of us will prefer taller and taller skyscrapers over suburban housing outside the city.

A Sidenote On Overpopulation
It seems to me that when contemplating the future, people tend to fear overpopulation. But I don’t think overpopulation will cause any catastrophic physical problems. Cities will grow to fit our needs. They’ll continue to grow – upwards.

Nor will overpopulation cause food problems. Another blog for another day.

The biggest problem arising from overpopulation, in fact, may be getting rid of organic and synthetic waste quick enough. Because the 30 million people living in concentration in NYC will generate a lot more waste per acre than today’s measly 8.2 million. Also another blog for another day. :)

Growing vertically may free up space horizontally.

What all this means in the context of automated travel is that we will be traveling for different reasons than we do today. One of the big reasons will be entertainment.

Imagine massive arenas and entertainment hubs, establishments so huge—twenty, fifty times the size of any Vegas casino—that they are communities with their own cultures. They would be self-sustaining, more like towns inside the heart of the city than malls or casinos.

Perhaps one of the most exciting thing about automated cars is how they will revolutionize public transportation.

In the long run, when virtual reality becomes the norm, long-distance travel in personal vehicles may, like brick & mortar homes, be reserved for the wealthy.

In fact, it appears to me that much of the middle class won’t have their own vehicles. Instead they’ll rely on a robust public transportation system, a network of hundreds of thousands of automated cars swarming around the city like ants. The middle class traveler will always have an automated car less than a minute away—awaiting his/her beck and call like a faithful dog.

You may wait in line for 6 minutes at your neighborhood’s “car stop”. It could be a service you pay for monthly, the way you pay for tap water or the internet, or it could (eventually) be a free public service.

The cars would pick up on the particular behavioral signature of your neighborhood—for example, that its inhabitants tend to travel 27% more on Tuesdays—and would compensate by having more vehicles available on peak hours and peak days.

The next post will tackle design and technology behind autonomous vehicles. It’s a biggie, and includes another infographic. Read on…

Read the next post →
Driverless Cars (Part 5/6): Design & Technology of Autonomous Vehicles of the Future

Start from the beginning →
Driverless Cars (Part 1/6): Google’s Cars Will Change Everything


 

 

Sidenote from the author:

The concept art and infographics for this series of articles were hard to create; self-doubt can be so draining. In the end, I found a way to express my visions. It would mean a lot to me if you told me how I did. Comment below or contact me.

← Most importantly: please share this page. Let’s get this rocket ship off the ground. :) You will be helping my dream to come true. Thank you so much.

Ersan Seer

"Beautiful and fearsome technologies are arriving. Imagine with me." Ersan Seer is a futurist & concept artist, whose calling in life is to excite other people about the future.

6 Responses to Automated Cars Will Redefine “Home” – Driverless Cars (Part 4/6)

  1. GRASHOPER says:

    THIS IS A GEEK GONE WRONG. JUST LOOK AT THE 5:OO O’CLOCK NEWS WHEN THEY INFORM YA ABOUT THE RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC.
    WE DON’T NEED MORE CARS, DRIVER/DRIVELESS. JUST GO IN TO ANY MAJOR CITY. ANYONE WHO THINKS CAR TRANSPORTATION IS UTOPIA IS ON DRUGS. CAR TRANSPORTATION IS A DRUG GO WRONG. THE ULTIMATE BUBBLE. I JUST DON’T GET, WHY GOOGLE, WITH ALL THOSE COMPUTER GEEKS, IS SPENDING VALUABLE TIME ON PRODUCING A DRIVELESS CAR. AGAIN, LIKE WE NEED MOFRE. GIVE ME A BREAK.

  2. Sally Mason says:

    If the future car you envision could be designed to be both transportation AND residence, it would save land AND money. Instead of building/living in expensive houses and apartment buildings we’d rent slots in far cheaper parking structures. I’m picturing a multi-story structure designed with open sides and vertical atriums to let the sun pour in and enable lots of lush landscaping – something that brings to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon. Sign me up!

  3. Mat says:

    Hey mate

    Nice post; love some of the thoughts. I read a lot of articles about driverless cars – 50-100 each month – and you have some genuinely original ideas.

    I think you are right in saying that most people will be plugged into a network of cars that can come and pick you up anywhere – but rather than lining up, once could summon the vehicles with a smart phone app.

    I think the possibility of people living out of their new driverless homes is likely – more likely than connecting with a wall which requires a) the wall to be rebuilt and b) private car ownership.

    I live the suggestion above of multi story cars but my only concerns would be overhead bridges and trees…

    • Ersan Seer says:

      Thanks Mat. Nice site you got there. Lots of great ideas I haven’t even considered.

      In hindsight, I agree with you. The walls opening up into the residence—the seamless, fluid way I envision it—would require some major advances in materials technology.

      I do think we’ll achieve it, just not for another 30-75 years.

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