The future has always sounded exciting not just for futurists but also for car lovers. Nothing has stirred people’s curiosity more than the possible look and function of cars years from now. In fact, musings over this have inspired car makers to come up with wild concepts. Some of these ingenious ideas have even permeated the mainstream media through movies, such as Back to the Future, Mission Impossible, The Dark Knight, and Blade Runner 2049, just to name a few.
But what will cars in the future actually be like? It used to be so hard to grasp. But with the technology and data we have now, predicting the future of cars, and driving in general, might have just become easier. Read on to see how promising future cars will be.
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The Cars of the Future
If you’re wondering what you’ll be driving years from now, here are the impressive futuristic cars that will hit the road―well, some of them already have!
For some, electric cars may not sound that exciting anymore. You’ve already heard of Tesla. Moreover, China’s electric vehicle market is already growing fast. But if you come to think of it, electric cars can significantly change the future. There will come a time when cars will no longer burn fuel to run. When that happens, fuel emission will be reduced, which in turn will make for a greener Earth.
The world is somehow transitioning, as a lot of car brands―from Toyota to Land Rover―have already started offering hybrid cars that can run on both fuel and battery. If things go well, you’ll be seeing charging stations instead of gas stations in the future.
If the systems and technologies that govern self-driving cars are perfect, you can expect an optimistic future not just for private drivers but also for business owners and pedestrians. For instance, driving long distances will be much more convenient. If you’re running a fleet, you won’t have to hire drivers. And if humans are not constantly behind the wheel, there will be fewer accidents.
Well, the good news is that partially self-driving cars are already here, though their features are still being refined and improved. One fine example is the Tesla Model X. Its autopilot feature lets your car automatically steer, accelerate, and brake within its lane. However, note that enabling this feature still requires you to attentively supervise the car’s movement.
Perhaps, the most exciting features of the Model X are Summon and Autopark. Through Summon, you can automatically retrieve your car. And if parallel parking is not your forte, just enable Autopark. With a single touch, your car will park itself in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.
Imagine being able to change the color of your car the way you change your clothes. That would be so cool! It would appear like you’re driving a different car every day.
Apparently, Audi already has a patent on this. If this feature is successfully implemented, you can easily change the color of your car at the touch of a button.
Audi, however, is not just doing this for aesthetic purposes. It’s actually part of its vision for an electric future. Through this adaptive color feature, cars can switch to a lighter shade during midsummer. This is founded on the claim that black vehicles tend to consume 1 to 2% more energy during the said period of summer.
This advanced color changing tech is possible through the use of a graphic film layer that has a displayable image and background color, a switchable film layer, and a color coat layer.
Meanwhile, check out this video featuring Audi's futuristic car called the Skysphere, which has a moving steering wheel and fully autonomous driving.
Flying cars have always been a fixture in science fiction. And with the amount of advanced technology that we have right now, you may be wondering why they’re still not here yet.
Actually, they already are, and they’ll be launching soon enough, with some being poised to enter the mainstream market in 2023 and 2024.
Although some flying cars will be running on fuel, a few designs are outfitted with electric and hybrid engines. They’re also built for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), so that they can easily fit into urban communities. You can even drive them on land and in the air. Among the promising names that you need to watch out for are AeroMobil, XPeng, and Terrafugia.
If you’re curious about the legality of flying cars, it’s nice to know that their future is bright. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Terrafugia a Special Light-Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate. Nevertheless, it will still need to meet the safety standards from the FAA and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. If all things go well and the Terrafugia hits the mainstream market, owners will be required to have a Sport Pilot certificate and a driver’s license.
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Possible Features That Cars Will Have in the Future
Whether your car will be electric, flying, or color-changing, it’s fun to predict its possible features. But one thing’s sure: these new features must make driving much safer and more comfortable.
Multi-Purpose, Customizable Interiors
Much has been said about the exteriors of futuristic cars, from the boxy, geometric mug of Tesla’s Cybertruck to the streamlined and aerodynamic lines of the Toyota LQ. But what about the interiors?
Some futurists envision the interiors to be highly customizable, as seen in the Volvo 360c. Aside from being autonomous and electric, the 360c’s interior can be converted into a meeting room and even a bedroom where you can sleep if you have an overnight trip. How neat is that?
Technically, future cars are IoT (internet of things) assets. And it logically follows that they will soon have artificial intelligence.
With this feature, you can communicate your tasks and requests to your car through speech and even gestures. Your car will be able to recognize road signs, traffic lights, pedestrians, a feature that will make autonomous driving much safer. AI-enabled thermal sensors will be able to see much more than what your headlights can offer when you’re driving in the dark.
Probably the best thing about this feature is the way your car will be synced with the movements of other cars. If all cars are AI-powered and can be synced up with each other, traffic flows will definitely improve.
And if your car is intelligent enough, it may even form an emotional bond with you. This is the vision of Toyota when they created LQ, one of their concept vehicles.
LQ is equipped with Yui, a powerful artificial intelligence-powered interactive agent―think of it as Apple’s Siri. Yui is designed to learn your driving behavior, which in turn will allow the car to deliver a personalized mobility experience. 
More Views for the Passenger
Future cars are envisioned to have 360-degree panoramic views. This may mean that the car will be covered by one big bubble instead of a solid roof. The said bubble can be transparent. But with just a touch of the button, it can go all-black to give you privacy.
It’s also possible that your car windows will utilize smart glass. The glass can either control the amount of natural light coming into your car or be repurposed as a screen.
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More Use of Cameras and Sensors
In the future, cars may have to let go of mirrors, as drivers will be more likely to rely on cameras and sensors. After all, cars will be able to communicate with each other, so there won’t be a need for the driver to constantly look at the side mirror to see if their car is already too close to other vehicles. Instead of checking the side mirror every now and then, drivers can just look at their console.
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So How Does the Philippines Fare?
Of course, you’d want to see these futuristic cars in the Philippines. But bear in mind that it may take a while before our roads completely see everyone driving an advanced car.
For instance, self-driving, flying vehicles, and the like will probably be subjected to different governmental deliberations, knowing that they concern public safety. Debates and discussions regarding these cars will obviously take time.
For Now: The Future is Green and Electric
Nevertheless, you have assurance that innovations in driving are welcome in the country. For instance, electric jeepneys are being eyed to gradually replace the traditional ones. One exciting development is Sarao Motors’ partnership with electric vehicle maker Le’ Guider International to mass-produce electric jeepneys.
And if you’re asking if electric cars will ever come to the country, it seems that we’re heading that way. After all, various car brands are offering hybrid vehicles in the Philippines. Next thing you know, you’re already driving an electric vehicle.
To support that electric vision, the Philippine Senate approved Bill No. 1382, or the proposed Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act. If the proposal becomes a law, gasoline stations in the country will be required to provide electric vehicle charging stations. Public and private buildings will also need to have designated parking slots cum charging stations for EVs. Also, industrial, commercial, and public transport, as well as government agencies, will need to make sure that at least 5% of their vehicle fleets are EVs. Exciting times ahead!
If you’re wondering if the Philippines is going to ban gas cars, no one can definitely tell at this point. But it’s noteworthy that a powerful country like the UK will ban the sale of diesel cars starting 2030. If the rest of the world follows suit, the Philippines may eventually have to adopt a similar policy.
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It’s fun to visualize what driving and riding will look like years from now. But with what we’re currently seeing, it’s safe to say that cars in the future are promising. They will make the roads greener and safer for both drivers and pedestrians. And with the integration of artificial intelligence into the automobile system, driving will become much more personalized and worthwhile.
Also, it’s fun to picture what the future installment of the Fast and Furious franchise will look like with all these advanced cars. Can you imagine?
-  China’s Electric Vehicle Market is Growing Too Big Too Fast (Yahoo Finance, 2021)
- Audi Develops Revolutionary Color-Changing Paint Tech (Carbuzz, 2021)
-  The FAA Has Cleared the World’s First Flying Car for Takeoff (Robb Report, 2021)
-  Volvo 360c Features
-  Toyota’s New LQ Wants to Build an Emotional Bond With Its Driver
-  GP-Sarao Electric Jeepney Features