The Massachusetts Institute of Technology assembled a panel of experts from their faculty to hold a discussion on the future of the automobile. The theme seems to be that automobiles need to be 'less like living rooms' if problems with congestion, pollution, and fuel consumption are to be reduced or eliminated. There were a couple of interesting opinions stated, including the fact that public transportation is not a viable option for the majority of the country and that hydrogen powered vehicles are almost certain. John Heywood, the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Sloan Autolab, made one thing clear, do not underestimate the power of consumer car culture. Don't underestimate the desires and needs of enthusiasts and that future vehicles should still possess desirable characteristics. Nearly every culture has an its own car crazy sub-culture, and the desires of these enthusiasts and consumers must be taken into account. People will still want performance, luxury, and other automotive aesthetics to be addressed appropriately. Check out MIT's own report on the talk which was held on September 22.
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