Ever since vehicles with internal combustion engines arrived they’ve maimed and killed their passengers and pedestrians, consumers have spent increasing amounts of their time inside them, and our environment has been paved over and filled with their noise and fumes.
Millions of people are employed the world in the manufacture, service, repair and insurance of vehicles. Cars have provided freedom, made it possible to work in cities while living outside
of them, and are often the most evident demonstration of wealth. In developing societies those who can afford a bicycle then want a moped; those who attain a moped then want a car.
But millions of consumers are effectively denied the opportunity for car ownership, temporarily or permanently, due to their age, insufficient funds, physical or mental health. Between 2001 and 2009, the proportion of all households in the US with no vehicle actually increased from 8.1% to 8.7%.
Even though a car is usually one of the most expensive items a family will acquire, for a large proportion of the time they sit motionless, parked and depreciating. And, in recent decades, climate change has meant that the view of the car has changed in the developed world.
Connected and autonomous vehicles will be leading users of the internet of things and 5G technologies. But almost all of today’s societal and regulatory issues will converge on road transport, as Julian McGougan reports.
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