It sounds like the stuff of science fiction. In fact, it pretty much is the stuff of science fiction, as Audi don’t predict any of the technology in their new Audi A9 concept to be available until 2020. Cars that can magically change colour at the touch of a button? Cars that don’t even have a windscreen? Perhaps most impressively, a car that heals scratches and dents, totally autonomously? It only sounds a couple of steps away from a world dominated by artificial intelligence, where robots rule the world and humans are forced to work as organic slaves. Odd, eh?!
So, how do Audi intend to make the fantastical technology in the A9 Concept car into a reality? Well, the answer lies in the little understood realm of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology, shortened to “nanotech”, is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures sized between 1 to 100 nanometer in at least one dimension, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.
So, thanks to Wikipedia’s definition, we know that nanotechnology essentially comes down to very very tiny little pieces of tech, which can do lots of incredibly impressive things. Sometimes the technology is intended to group together and work as a workforce or teeny army, at other times the technology operates independently, theoretically having some pretty meaty spy implications for the future. In the car world, I presume the paint colour changes can be done by a coating of colour-changing nanos, whilst I have a mental image of teeny engineers helping with the scratches.
Whatever the exact concept, I have to say that not only does the A9 look fabulous, but it is one of the most exciting ideas I have heard of in a long time. If it becomes a reality I will be very excited indeed. Roll on 2020!
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