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Think of a world in which car and home link up with each other to make your life easier. No, this is not a spin-off from Blade Runner, but a present-day reality already with us.
What am I talking about? Something that you’ve been expecting for quite some time now and which is about to happen: what a delight, when you're driving back home after work and you can remotely check your home with a simple voice-activated command! And in a second the oven will turn on, the lights in the garden too and your door will open to let in the friend who’s arrived for drinks earlier than expected. So, just to give you some examples.
You are probably aware that the top car manufacturers were definitely not the first to think of combining high-technology with everyday life.
Since technology invaded our lives, it has constantly fuelled the creativity of the great minds of our time, who have imagined how the analogical world could evolve, up to considering the new millennium to be an age in which sci-fi can be applied on a large scale. Technology is extremely useful of course, but it can conjure up apocalyptic scenarios inhabited by machines that take over the world.
Surprise: it’s almost 2020, cars don’t fly – no yet, at least – but the connection between mankind and technology is stronger than ever and is constantly developing, in an attempt to make our lives easier.
On the one hand we have Google, who in the middle of an experiment, had to mediate between two robots who started quarrelling, using a language of their own, obviously and – this is really unsettling – their language would be incomprehensible to you or me.
On the other we have the more pragmatic car manufacturers who, for quite some time now, have worked with architects and designers to come up with a new approach by which, in a world that’s ever less dependent on vehicles (theoretically, of course), technology will become an integral part of the home and its workings.
Relying on one of the most immediate effects of technology, which is to make everyday tasks quicker and easier to perform, the top car manufacturers are trying to turn cars into everyday accessories, which you can park in your living room or charge at the end of the day as if it were a smartphone.
Already, if you buy a Tesla, you can charge it at home using a solar panel-powered wall-mounted charger, so that, the morning after, it’ll be able to stack up thousands of kilometres.
Mercedes is no exception: lithium battery-based technology connects the cars to an integrated home network, which through a single photovoltaic power system mounted on the roof, powers both the car and the home.
Futuristic? Not really: what you’ve just been reading has already been put into practice.
And we won’t have to wait long for other concepts: BMW and Renault especially, have taken matters into their own hands. Renault is working towards creating a real extension of the home on four wheels; this was launched at the Motor Show in Frankfurt and is expected to land on the market in a few years.
The French car manufacturer has named its new project Symbioz, and it’ll have many different features: the car will use solar panels to store energy and release it in the event of a black-out, acting as a large portable battery. Symbioz can preset your home appliances and adjust the temperature of your air-conditioning before you get home. You can even open your front door from the car-cabin before you ever set foot outside. So, really to turn back to what we were fantasising about before. Symbioz will also become an integral part of the architecture of your living room, turning it into an elegant space in which to work or relax. Yes, it’s all true.
It depends on your point of view. Without a doubt, there’s something noble in this frenetic quest for innovation: trying to outdo the competition in terms of modernity, car manufacturers all around the world are finally moving in the right direction, namely the direction of sustainable electrically powered cars.
Read between the lines: if you’re like me, you’re a green warrior who would like to see all cars disappear from the face of the earth, don’t worry. In the future, the automotive industry, and the same goes for the home, will be powered by electricity – and if this includes renewable sources, as it does for Tesla and Mercedes, better still.
In the end, cars are already an integral part of our everyday lives, whether you own one or you occasionally rely on car-sharing. So, why shouldn’t they turn into something that will improve those lives?
But, in spite of everything we've said, we shouldn’t forget that a car is for moving around in. As you contemplate one futuristic feature and then another, don't forget the clutch.
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