Autonomous Cars and Electric Cars: Past, Present, and Future

Noah Brown, Staff Writer

Cars are a very big part of many people’s lives (including mine). The evolution of cars has been very rapid. They haven’t been around very long and have had many good and bad impacts on the world. People have been able to get to work faster (and slower). It’s give birth to many jobs and futures for those individuals embraced by potential knowledge of cars. Not everything about cars are so great though. Death rates have risen and air pollution has harmed this earth for a long time. Many individuals and whole car companies have invested their lives and knowledge into finding solutions to these two problems. These investments have led to the ideas and existence of electric cars, and autonomous cars.

Electric cars have been around longer than most people think. In fact, they’ve been around longer than petrol powered cars. In 1884, Thomas Parker builds the first practical electric car that can be recharged (Shahan). They weren’t considered as much as their petrol counterparts. Electric cars have made a comeback in the 21st century with the very popular company, Tesla. The most famous model, the model S is not very cheap, with prices ranging from $70,000-$100,000 (Bullis). The car has a max range of 265 miles on a full charge and can deliver a 200 mile charge in half an hour (Bullis). The started off not even being comparable to their petrol counterparts, but now their popularity has grown because of new capabilities and the pressuring of emissions laws and climate change.

Autonomous cars have not become as usual as electric cars. This will not be the case for very long though. Tesla’s cars have a system called “Autopilot” that can drive the car by itself but still requires the driver to pay close attention at their surroundings (Thomson). Mercedes is also developing an autonomous car called the F 015. The car informs pedestrians when to cross and is still considered a rolling laboratory (Ziegler). Based off of my own engineering knowledge and studying, self driving cars use navigation and set way points based off of where the car presently is. It would use many sensors to detect traffic lights, signs, people, objects and other factors.

Electric cars are finally becoming more common as time progresses. If self driving cars’ technology improves (or when it improves), will it progress as fast as electric cars? Who knows. I hope that someday we will have more electric cars and self driving cars. I personally think we already have enough bad drivers on the road and pollution!

Works cited

1. Bullis, Kevin. “How Tesla is Driving Electric Car Innovation”. www.technologyreview.com. August 7th, 2013. MIT Technology Review. Accessed April 7th, 2017. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/516961/how-tesla-is-driving-electric-car-innovation/
2. Ziegler, Chris. “Riding in the Mercedes-Benz F 015; I spent a day in the year 2030”. www.theverge.com. March 20th, 2015. Vox media. Accessed April 5th, 2017. http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/20/8263561/mercedes-benz-f-015-self-driving-video
3. Colwell, K.C. “2016 Ford Focus Electric; could you live without a gas station?”. www.caranddriver.com. April 2016. Hearst autos. Accessed April 4th, 2017. http://www.caranddriver.com/ford/focus-electric
4. Shahan, Zachary. “Electric car evolution”. cleantechnica.com. April 26th, 2015. Sustainable Enterprises Media Inc. Accessed March 30th, 2017. https://cleantechnica.com/2015/04/26/electric-car-history/