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The future of motoring - special edition

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November 21, 2005

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November 22, 2005 As astounding as it may seem, given that the automotive industry really didn’t get going until 100 years ago, the world’s oldest car magazine, AutoCar, turns 110 this week. In celebrating its 110-year anniversary, the original car magazine has a special issue focusing on the the future of motoring. Autocar’s investigations suggest that the car could change more in the next 20 years than it has in the last 40. ‘Cars that drive themselves, see, park and avoid accidents would have been unthinkable even 20-years ago, but this technology is not that far from showrooms according to the magazine. The special issue goes on sale today, and will no doubt be a collectors item. Happy birthday to AutoCar.

Richard Bremner, Autocar’s executive editor said, ‘Autocar has reported on the progress of the car for 110 years, witnessing its transformation from madcap invention to one of man’s most successful machines. Motoring might be attracting some bad press right now, but the car industry is working determinedly on developments that will dramatically reduce the negative impacts of the car, and bolster its appeal as the most affordable versatile and intelligent mass transit device yet devised.’

Autocar’s investigations suggest that the car could change more in the next 20 years than it has in the last 40. ‘Cars that drive themselves, see, park and avoid accidents would have been unthinkable even 20-years ago, but the reality is that this technology is not that far from high street showrooms,’ says Bremner.

The motor industry is investing billions of pounds to ensure that the vehicles we drive will make motoring safer by packing them with clever and affordable technology. Nissan and Fiat are working on cars that can detect a sleepy driver by monitoring eyelid movement, the driver’s grip on the steering wheel, his respiratory activity and heart rate. Blind spot detection systems, cars that steer themselves should they drift out of lane on the motorway, and brake if they detect an accident developing, are on the way too.

The global warming problem – taken very seriously by every car-maker - will be tackled by a mix of super-efficient new engines, a rapidly widening choice of hybrid cars and eventually, the advent of fuel cell cars that emit no carbon dioxide at all. Cars will get lighter, requiring less fuel to propel them, and their makers will be battling to reduce the carbon dioxide created by producing them.

Parking accidents could be a thing of the past when technology pioneered by Toyota becomes standard fit. Position your car beside an empty parking slot, press a button and it will manoeuvre its way into the space. Ultrasonic and radar sensors in the bumpers determine its proximity to obstacles, assisted by global positioning satellites. Meanwhile Fiat and Honda are developing cars that drive themselves as part of a sophisticated urban car-sharing scheme.

‘Anyone who thinks the car is nearing the end of its development is in for a real surprise,’ says Bremner. ‘It will continue to be the most advanced, sophisticated and ingenious confection of mankind’s discoveries that anyone can hope to own.’

Autocar’s 110th anniversary issue, complete with this 60-page motoring in the future supplement, is on sale today (22nd November 2005).

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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