This year has proved a pretty wild time with a pandemic, political unrest, and a new hard look at social inequality. Though these are all very important issues in their own right, there are also big things happening that are a little more optimistic – first and foremost, our incredible advances in technology.
Tech is the bright, shining star of our lifetime. With it, we’ve unleashed incredible opportunity and power around the globe. This power brings modern advancements to underprivileged societies, connects people from around the world at the touch of a button, and allows us to tackle unprecedented challenges.
One example of these advances is vehicular technology. Over the past 100 years, the development of transportation systems and associated technologies has blossomed well beyond what many people of that era ever thought possible. Today, new technological advances are poised to continue to transform our society in new and exciting ways.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ADVANCES
The public transportation sector garners varying levels of support and praise depending upon which part of the world you’re coming from. In Asian and European powerhouses, public transportation is cheap, efficient, and far more effective than alternative transportation, whereas in the United States, public transportation lags significantly behind and may never see the infrastructure boost needed to make it a competitive alternative to driving.
Fortunately, many technological advances are working to improve upon our public transportation systems and continue to make them better than ever. Innovative new systems such as the Hyperloop – which is designed to move people underground at very high speeds by reducing friction in the actual travel pod – are just waiting for government approval before development begins. This advancement could help connect major cities and improve travel on the East Coast.
Additionally, talks have long been circulating about the development of a high-speed rail line that could connect various states. Recently investors have taken a new interest in this prospect and lines are being contemplated from L.A. to Las Vegas, down the West Coast, and all across the East Coast. Both private and government investment could make this a reality.
Several major tech innovations from vehicular transportation are happening on a much different scale. Rather than an entire infrastructure system and way of life change, they intend to completely change the efficiencies related to what we already have. These are telematics, which can play a major role in identifying safety risks, inefficient routes, and helpful alternatives.
An example of telematics in action is in school bus fleet management. Schools and parents have long been concerned about overall school bus safety and telematics can offer some level of improvement by making sure speed limits and other driving laws are observed through in-vehicle tracking devices. Telematics can also allow parents to see school bus locations and follow the route on their personal devices so they know exactly when their kids reach their destination.
Beyond just safety, telematics solutions can help improve efficiencies in numerous driving situations. For instance, route planning can be used to avoid major traffic congestion and help truck drivers deliver goods faster and with fewer costs to the company. Tracking vehicles with telematics can also help determine different ways to burn less fuel or improve vehicle maintenance strategies.
Finally, no conversation about vehicular technology can be complete without discussing the potential for the automated vehicle. The idea has captured the American imagination for generations and now it may be turning into a reality. Numerous companies are in the trial stages of their self-driving vehicles and there is a very real potential that they could become mainstream in our lifetimes.
Obviously, these developments could completely shake up our way of life. Not having to drive to work or take the kids to soccer could free up a lot of time for other projects and hobbies. Whole professions could change – for instance, truck drivers may become a thing of the past and be replaced with a whole fleet of IT professionals who work to manage driverless semi-trucks on the roadways.
Even now, there are a plethora of small automated and artificial intelligence-related things already happening in your vehicle. For instance, those monitors in newer cars that beep when you get close to going outside of your lane – those features are precursors to driverless vehicles that will be dependent upon these types of safety features. Other safety and technology features such as Bluetooth are part of the mix as well.
Technology advances are leading us into a brave new world. No matter which way you look at it – from a public transportation or personal vehicle stance – things are changing. These monumental advances will bring great change, but also great opportunity as they continue to transform our society.