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Last week I gave a keynote presentation on "Future Trends" to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. Since many of these trends are directly applicable to the automobile industry, I thought I would draw up a list of ten trends I see influencing the automobile industry over the next five to ten years.
Trend #1: Smart Materials
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I agree and so if you want to see the future of "smart materials," I'd strongly encourage you to watch this short video about General Motor's work in the field.
Trend #2: Nanotechnology
To a large degree it is advances in nanotechnology which are enabling many of the aforementioned products, but nanotechnology will also lead to the creation of new and more effective catalysts which will reduce the amount of platinum and palladium automobile manufacturers use. Nanoparticles will also be used to improve fuel efficiency. In fact, Oxonica is already testing its nanoparticles on buses in England (where they have demonstrated a 4.3% in fuel efficiency), and new nanocoatings such as Ecology Coatings is developing will reduce both the amount of material and energy OEMs use to coat existing auto parts.
Trend #3: Better Batteries
Again, thanks to advances in nanotechnology (this time in the form of new nanomaterials and silicon nanowires), a number of manufacturers are producing extraordinary leaps in battery technology. Companies such as EEStor, A123 Systems and Altair Nanotechnologies should all be closely monitored because they could soon be building batteries capable of powering a car for 300 to 400 miles. (As an added benefit, they might need only minutes to recharge.)
About Jack Uldrich
Jack Uldrich is a writer, futurist, public speaker and host of jumpthecurve.net. He is the author of seven books, including Jump the Curve and The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business. He is also a frequent speaker on future technology and future trends, nanotechnology, innovation, change management and executive leadership to a variety of businesses, industries and non-profit organizations and trade associations.
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