Following an extra-ordinary conversation with the future, Motoring World’s Editorial Director, TILDA FRANCES, revealed what the future world of motoring would be like if COVID-19 refuses to go away
I have been thinking about this pandemic and the consequences of it. It was one of those moments, when I wasn’t inspired to do anything, but relax on a sofa with a cup of tea. Like a modulation wave, my brain went into the future.
I saw the future. And from it, I asked questions. What if the Corona Virus pandemic lasts longer than the experts say? Supposing it doesn’t go away at all? How do we travel safely? How do we protect ourselves from this disease?
As I was thinking all these and drinking my tea, my brain received an answer. It was like being taken to a workshop, where, on a cinema screen, I was being played a scenario, the type that should guide the thinking of proactive automobile manufacturers.
Wave of words I saw, like a vision read thus:
“As health experts predicts, we may have to learn to live with Covid-19, which means, we can’t get locked down forever. Private and public transport must get back on the road. However, travel/auto technology must have to be modified.
“All cars must be electric.
“Entry to the cars should be via your phone.”
From this point, I entered into question and answer session with the Future screen.
ME: But how would a phone get you into your car?”
Future screen: When you buy your car, your fingerprint is entered into a security system, and an application containing your finger print is downloaded to your phone and vehicle. When you want to get into your car, you swipe a sensor on the car, which needs your print and allows you to drive away.
Me: But supposing your phone gets stolen, do you think a fob would be better?
Future screen: Yes. Not a problem. Perhaps, on entering your vehicle, you can enter a code on the dashboard, that might work. Note that Electric cars are mere intermission to fully autonomous vehicles, which would operate with sensors on the roads to guide the car.
At that stage, for the car to know where to take you, it would be equipped with a system akin to satellite navigation. Don’t forget, the Autonomous car will not have to use petrol or diesel. It shall be fully electric. That means, you won’t have to queue at fuel stations, talk less of you having to handle contaminated money, pump handles, etc, thereby reducing contact with contaminants.
ME: What about public transport?
Future screen: Similar system would be employed. Commercial buses should be fully electric and autonomous.
To travel on one, you buy your ticket online, download to your phone or fob. As you enter the bus, you swipe your phone or fob and take a seat.
ME: But being a public transport, won’t it be tricky for people to sit close together?
Future screen: Inside the bus would be modified without any loss of space, by putting in Perspex screens on either side of the seats. Those with children, if very young, could have them on their laps as normal, slightly older, a seat to themselves.
It was at this point my brain went into overdrive.
ME: I understand that, as it is today, wearing of masks would be compulsory. But they don’t stop you from sneezing, would they?
Future screen: Of course, makers of future automobiles would have to take this into consideration. They should be so equipped that when a passenger sneezes or coughs, a fine sanitizing mist would automatically descend to neutralize the droplets.
At this point, I regained consciousness. But worried about forgetting this vital vision, I picked up my tablet. Oh no. I had run out of charge. I picked up pen and scribbled all onto a paper.
I know most of the technology referred to are already out there. But, because of the situation we find ourselves in at the moment, there is more urgency, more than ever before, for auto makers to pull up their socks and meet up with future, which, I am afraid, is already staring us all in face.
I know the foregoing sounds like conjecture. We don’t know what will happen. I don’t know. You don’t know. But this virus has shown, if nothing else, how fragile we are, and I am going to say, how pig-headed some of us are. This will not be the only pandemic. And even if this one is defeated, which in my own opinion, it won’t, we must always think of ways to make ourselves safe.
Auto manufacturers have a big role to play. And I will say this: our lives will change. And so will our thought patterns. They have to.
Stay safe. Keep safe.
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