Please describe what further advances and improvements may be expected, both in the near future, and in the distant future for the automobile industry. To what extent do you expect these changes to be positive, or negative, or both?
In order to make a quality assessment of what advances are expected in the near and far future one must understand that the automobile has been with us for literally hundreds of years. Additionally, the automobile has stayed primarily the same in regard to fundamental engine design as well as ergonomic design. The current common automotive engine is an internal combustion engine which means that fuel is ignited inside the engine in a closed environment. Conversely the steam engine is an example of an external combustion engine where fuel was is burned externally. A more detailed explanation of the two engines can be expressed in this description, "The steam engine is an external combustion engine in which the fuel is burned in a separate section of the engine to heat a working fluid- steam-which then drives the work-producing part of the engine, the piston in its cylinder. In the internal combustion engine, the fuel is burned in a combustion chamber formed inside the working cylinder. The combustion process is very rapid, amounting to a sudden explosion that forces the piston down the cylinder to produce work. There are two main classes of reciprocating internal combustion engine, the distinction being made according to the working cycle used, the alternatives being the Diesel cycle and the Otto cycle used for spark-ignition gasoline engines. Continuous-flow engines, such as the gas turbine, are also of the internal combustion type." (1) One can easily see from the prior excerpt that the concept of the external combustion engine is ingenious; however, the development of the internal combustion engine is not only ingenious but extremely efficient.
The automotive engine as stated earlier has stayed in the basic form as described above. The focus has been on efficiency of the engine regarding fuel consumption, power, durability, speed, and computerization. Additionally, the focus has also been on creating a more comfortable environment for the operator and passenger. Some excellent examples are heated seats, computer engine control, Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), DVD players, temperature control, and one of the most important creature comforts, cup holders.
The idea of comfort has made a difference in the car industry and it has been a factor for almost 100 years. The concept of comfort was first exploited by William S. Knudson who was put in charge of the Chevrolet division of General Motors in 1922 and immediately focused driver comfort. Knudson did not make the ...
Future trend for the automotive industry is discussed in this solution.