Travel has always enjoyed something of a futuristic aesthetic. In the 19th century, the steam train revolutionized the way that people got around between the emerging cities and towns of the day. Fast forward a century or two, and bullet trains and other top rail technology have proven the old dreams of the future correct.
This sense that the future is always just around the corner when it comes to transport also exists for cars – and self-driving vehicles are definitely on the horizon for many people. This article will delve into exactly what the future of car travel will look like – and will also explore what the role of electrical engineers might be in making it a reality.
Self-driving cars: the latest
It’s increasingly accepted that driverless cars aren’t exactly around the corner in the way that they perhaps seemed a few years ago. There’s a perception that it could be later in the century when cars are properly driver-free. However, there’s so much progress being made: hands-free driving, for example, is now in use in several American driving contexts, allowing for humans to take more of a back seat – while still remaining in control.
Who’s behind it?
Traditional cars are complex beasts, running as they do on fuels such as petrol. Self-driving cars are, for the most part, also part of an adjacent revolution when it comes to travel: the shift to electric vehicles. This calls for a different type of specialist: an electrical engineer.
Electrical engineers are responsible for all kinds of tasks when it comes to self-driving cars. They are the ones who come up with the systems behind the cool technology that you as a consumer experience in your car. They’re responsible for working out which pieces of electrical kit need to go in which place, and they also test and optimize these systems to make sure that they’re functioning properly.
This breadth of required knowledge and skill has led to the academic community responding with flexible and student-focused courses. Take Kettering University’s master of science in electrical engineering, which offers a deep dive into study fields such as dynamic system design, advanced mobility applications, robotics and much more. It’s only likely that demand for electrical engineering qualifications will skyrocket in the coming years – and with good reason, given the exciting potential of items such as electric cars.
Overall, the universe of self-driving vehicles is clearly one that is growing every day – and it’s also one that is likely to become the norm at some stage in the future. And those of us who will be reaping the benefits when it comes to more efficient journeys will have electrical engineers to thank: these hard-working professionals are the ones who will be in the driving seat as the automated vehicle revolution gathers speed and becomes a reality in the coming decades.