Zum Inhalt springen
Lego Car
12 Juli 2016

Die zukünftigen Rollen von Autos

Über die Zukunft des Automobils wird viel diskutiert und prophezeit. In diesem Artikel widme ich mich einer kurzen und prägnanten Analyse der zukünftigen Funktionen, die Autos erfüllen werden sowie der Art und Weise dieser Funktionserfüllung.

Over the past months I was often asked about my views on the future roles of cars — you know, with all the (mostly good) Tesla news and all the (mostly bad) Volkswagen news. If we look at the definition of what a car is, Oxford Dictionaries tells us that it is a “road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people.” Soon, most of these defining attributes will be outdated or obsolete. While it’s quite likely that we continue to roam on roads, four wheels—or at least what we know as wheels—will change fundamentally, and combustion engines will eventually and certainly get replaced by electric motors. In my view, it makes most sense to examine the future roles of cars through two lenses: The function lens, describing the values and benefits cars provide to people. The mode lense, describing the way cars create and provide these values.

Oxford Dictionary

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/

Functions

First, it’s likely that future cars’ prime function remains the provision of mobility. If we want to get from A to B to Z and the distances are too far for a bicycle ride and too inconvenient to reach by train we will use a car. What is going to change is how we view mobility. Intermodal mobility—i.e., the combination of multiple modes of transportation—and mobility as a service—e.g., Uber, Lyft, and DriveNow—are on the rise already.

Second, logistics is a function of cars that might become even more important as demand for the transportation and delivery of goods increases. As is often the case, human drivers are a major bottleneck here because the need rest and make mistakes that lead to accidents and delays. Unsurprisingly, companies such as DHL are actively developing substitutes to car-based logistics. Delivery drones and fully automated base stations that remind one of technology depicted in computer games and sci-fi movies are already in advanced prototyping stages.

Drone, source: www.popularmechanics.com

Drone, source: www.popularmechanics.com

Third, the function of cars as lifestyle artifacts and attributes is still relevant. Expensive cars serve as an indicator of wealth and desirability, just as an eco-friendly hybrid displays environmental awareness—though I’m unsure about the effects of decreasing numbers of driver’s licences and a generally lower interest of young people in cars. If road vehicles remain an artifact that drivers can use to supplement their lifestyle, personalization options need to increase. This might end in cars of disputable beauty, but it’s what a hype-driven generation that expects adaptability to short trend cycle wants.

Modes

The share economy—or rental economy, a term that would suit the phenomenon much better—gave rise to a myriad of car sharing providers. This links back to mobility as a service functions and underlines the short-lived mobility we can expect in the future. Another effect this shift will have is the commoditization of cars. When mobility by car is always on-demand and available to a very large user base, people develop a sense of indifference in regard to the kind of car they drive—which is nightmare fuel for individual car manufactures.

Autonomous driving is another mode that will define future roles of cars. Every car manufacturer in its right senses works on systems that allow for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving. Tesla and their partner Mobileye currently lead this development that will inevitably replace human drivers’ autonomy with computer systems that make (almost) no mistakes, thus greatly reducing accidents and fatalities. We are not there yet, but the future looks convenient and safe—and maybe a little boring.

Tech Insider, source: www.techinsider.io

Tech Insider, source: www.techinsider.io

While electric vehicles were among the first cars ever, the benefits of the high energy density of fossil fuels and internal combustion engines outweighed. Roughly a hundred years later, battery powered electric motors got back into the game. First through hybrid concepts that combine fossil fuel and electric power, but ultimately through fully electric vehicles—again most prominently by Tesla. As battery technology is further developed and renewable energy production is expanded, electric cars will become the most convenient, reliable, and environmentally-friendly norm.

Lastly, future cars will be much more modular than they are today—and they are quite modular already. The existent Volkswagen modular matrix and the modular and highly adaptable kits that tier 1 and 2 supplier firms developed are mostly hidden from the eye. This changes through more and more modular designs and vehicle concepts of which Local Motor’s OneCar is a prime example of. Depending on the task at hand, the car can change its setup. This will also allow future car owners to customize their vehicle—linking back to the lifestyle function described above.

Whether we will ever see a fully modular Lego-esk car remains to be seen, but cars will very likely remain an integral element of our future mobility, logistics, and—if car manufacturers are lucky—lifestyle as well.

Foto: Quelle: www.shop.lego.com

Dieser Beitrag ist Teil der regelmäßig erscheinenden Blogartikel der Doktoranden des Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft. Er spiegelt weder notwendigerweise noch ausschließlich die Meinung des Institutes wieder. Für mehr Informationen zu den Inhalten dieser Beiträge und den assoziierten Forschungsprojekten kontaktieren Sie bitte info@hiig.de.

Dieser Beitrag spiegelt die Meinung der Autorinnen und Autoren und weder notwendigerweise noch ausschließlich die Meinung des Institutes wider. Für mehr Informationen zu den Inhalten dieser Beiträge und den assoziierten Forschungsprojekten kontaktieren Sie bitte info@hiig.de

Robin P. G. Tech

Ehem. Projektleiter: IoT & eGovernment

Forschungsthema im Fokus

Man sieht einen leeren Büroraum ohne Möbel und braunen Teppichboden. Das Bild steht sinnbildlich für die Frage, wie die Arbeit der Zukunft und digitales Organisieren und Zukunft unseren Arbeitsplatz beeinflusst. You see an empty office room without furniture and brown carpeting. The image is emblematic of the question of how the work of the future and digital organising and the future will influence our workplace.

Digitales Organisieren und Zukunft der Arbeit

Unternehmensgrenzen werden poröser, Arbeit wird fluider und orts- sowie zeitungebundener. Die Zukunft der Arbeit zeigt sich einerseits in der örtlichen und zeitlichen Flexibilität und andererseits in der zunehmenden Interaktion von Mensch und Technologie. Am HIIG untersuchen wir, wie die Digitalisierung dabei Arbeit ersetzt, entlastet und eingeschränkt oder neue Arbeit entsteht.
Forschungsthema entdecken

HIIG Monthly Digest

Jetzt anmelden und  die neuesten Blogartikel gesammelt per Newsletter erhalten.

Weitere Artikel

Man sieht eine*n Lieferant*in eines Online-Lieferdienst für Essen auf einem Motorroller. Das Bild steht sinnbildlich für die Arbeitenden in der Gig Economy in Kenia. You see a delivery person from an online food delivery service on a scooter. The image is emblematic of the workers in the gig economy in Kenya.

Wege in eine sozial-gerechte Gig Economy in Kenia: Stakeholder Engagement und Regulierungsprozesse

Kenias Gig Economy wächst rasant, die Arbeitsbedingungen sind jedoch oft prekär. Wir haben die Lebensumstände von Gig-Workern untersucht.

Man sieht mehrer Spiegel, die in unterschiedlichen Formen angeordnet sind und verschiedene Oberflächen, wie den Himmel, eine Hauswand und so weiter widerspiegeln. Das Bild steht sinnbildlich für die vielen verschiedenen Bedeutungen von autonomen Systemen in unserer Gesellschaft. You see several mirrors arranged in different shapes reflecting different surfaces, such as the sky, a house wall and so on. The image is emblematic of the many different meanings of autonomous machines in our society.

Im Zeitalter der autonomen Systeme und Maschinen?

Können Maschinen autonom sein – oder ist das ein Privileg des Menschen? Diese kategorische Frage dominiert viele Diskussionen über unser Verhältnis zu den (vermeintlich) intelligenten Maschinen.

remote work is moving towards the city

Arbeiten aus der Ferne? Wie Remote Work in die Städte abwandert

Fernarbeit ermöglicht es uns, von "überall" aus zu arbeiten. Warum also werden ausgerechnet die Städte zu den neuen Mega-Hubs für die digitale Arbeit? Geraten ländliche Regionen ins Hintertreffen?