Of cars and mobility…

Mobility is a bit broken, isn’t it?

I mean, it shouldn’t take so much to ferry people from point A to point B.

Yet, mankind has yet to solve this puzzle – they have been at it from a hundred years now, and things are just getting more and more complicated.

It started with gasoline-powered engines, then bigger and bigger cars, then the oil and gas crises, not to mention the harmful effects on the environment and climate change. Rising incomes, cars becoming more affordable, and easier payment plans in the quest for debt-driven economic performances – all have contributed to the mess that we waddle through every morning and evening.

But what seems to be the solution here? Pundits thought that cars will get smaller, instead, there has been an explosion of SUVS and crossovers since 2016. Electric cars were to take over quickly, but Tesla’s are too costly, and the Reva’s are too boring.

Public transport is an option, but not many countries have found an effective way to channel the higher-income strata into metro trains. I think Singapore is an example of doing it right, but it’s easier to accomplish this in a smaller city, rather than a burgeoning metropolis.

Michio Kaku, in one of his books, wrote of a future with “intelligent roads”, which would have sensors that communicate real-time with driverless vehicles, thus herding them into the best possible route, computed by proprietary algorithms and machine learning.

As fantastic as it sounds, this scenario is not as far into the future as you might think. Chips are becoming cheaper by the day, and driverless vehicles are on the horizon. Yes, it may take away the pleasure of driving, but then, there will always be alternatives.

When they removed horses from the roads, people still rode them, albeit in equestrian clubs. Similar “car clubs” may spring up in the future, where you can strap yourself in and drive to your heart’s content, for a good fee.

Automated electric pods will dot the landscape – you will be able to swipe your card, board one, enter a destination and sit back and relax (or stay glued to your mobile phone) while the pod navigates the city, using the intelligent road network as stated above.

Anyways, you must be wondering why the topic of mobility. I too look forward to many days spent in the well-appointed cabin of my car, mulling over the newest features while waiting in traffic where many more fools like me spend their days and years.

Well, until the intelligent pods and roads appear that is.