The Trends Research Institute has published what it believes will be the Top trends that will shake and shape the world in 2018. The Institute predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the dot-com bust, the panic of 2008, the bottled water trend and the organic food movement. An example of what it forecast for next year is what it calls the driverless car cliff and the electric car fantasy.
It says in 2018 investors and auto industry watchers will learn just how many twists, turns, bumps and detours are along the road to vehicles that drive themselves or are powered by something other than a combustion engine. The auto industry and segments of the high tech world are gambling billions on what it forecasts is a bad bet. While there has been an increase in battery effectiveness, fossil fuels retain more energy longer and at a cheaper cost. The problem of recharging batteries limits mass market acceptability. The Institute also forecasts that breakthroughs in combustion engine development and higher efficiency motor oils that significantly increase miles per gallon and reduce pollution will also stall the move toward new energy vehicles. As for autonomous vehicles, the Institute forecasts that seeing them flooding the freeways, highways and side streets is a geek-fed fantasy of another lifetime. Some, specifically engineered for mining, trucking, perhaps busing—moving cargo or people from point A to point B on specific routes is the near/midterm future of driverless vehicles. Otherwise, to quote the Institute, “Driverless cars? Get Real!”.