The Days of the Future: Life from 2005-2030
History 162

Contemporary America

Since the beginning of existence change has been a fact of life. In each of our own life times we have been witness to changes of many sorts. These changes encompass things from family life to housing, to transportation and even education. Such changes continue to alter the ways in which we function and live our daily lives. In the past twenty-five years life has changed drastically, and in the twenty-five years ahead of us, I believe the same will hold true.

During World War II, mass transit was the form of transportation used by __% of US citizens.** But, as the war came to a close, mass transit took a back seat to the up and coming automobile. The automobile provided freedom to the average person. It gave people the ability to travel at what ever time and to do whatever desired. However, much progress has been made since the first cars invented by Henry Ford. Speed limits that once read 3mph in areas** now read 65mph, roads that were once gravel and dirt were superceded with superhighways and interstates. The horses of old day horse and carriage transportation have been transformed into horsepower under the hood of the car. Horsepower capacities now range from 120 to well over 700, while buggy like cars have evolved into sleek, aerodynamic machines or huge, gas guzzling SUV’s. With that said, it is no surprise that the freedom and livelihood that come with a car or SUV have down sides. Pollution, fossil fuels, traffic, accidents, etc are just some of the many negatives that are associated with automobiles today.

I believe that the future will hold answers and solutions to the problems that plague our car centered culture today. By the year 2025, I believe that many alternate sources of ‘fuel’ will be used. Already, electric and hybrid cars have made a boom on the market. Many states have allotted owners of such cars perks as a reward for helping the environment. I would love to say that in twenty-five years all cars would be ‘fueled’ by an alternate form of energy besides gasoline, but I don’t see that happening. However, what I do see happening are cars run by alternate sources such as electric, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell cars. By the year 2020, the hydrogen fuel cell will have won the war with internal combustion.” (Motavalli p.189) However, I see this switch to alternate sources of energy as a result of the public’s assertion that global warming has become undeniable, not because oil has become scarce. (Motavalli p.189) I also think that cars will be built with different kind of materials that would allow the car to be lighter that and consequently cause the car to use less energy. I think a good alternative would be something like carbon fiber; it looks good and is a lot lighter than aluminum or tin.

Another great innovation I believe will start to come to life is a technology used in aircrafts called “Fly by Wire;” applied to cars it will be called “Drive by Wire.” The concept of “Drive by Wire” means “dispensing with mechanical and hydraulic connections between the driver and car’s systems and using advanced electronics instead.” (Ludvisen p.72) In other words, the concept of “Drive by Wire” replaces the conventional steering wheel as well as braking systems and acceleration with controls similar to an airplane. Companies such as Ford, GM, and Oldsmobile have already begun implementing trial models of “Drive by Wire” technologies in their latest cars in the form of joysticks, a single dial on the armrest, or “yokes.” (Ludvisen p.72) BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Porsche have also already made “E-Gas,” a system in which the accelerator is found on the steering wheel as a push button, as well as a pedal on the floor. (Ludvisen p.73) Such technology has become a standard feature in such company’s cars, and I think in the future the entire “Drive by Wire” concept will have worked out its kinks and will be implemented as a standard feature in all brands, models, and styles. I also think that with all the technological and physical changes