I never thought much about cars before this week, when I attended the 2011 Forward with Ford conference at The Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan. My late husband M was the master of my car universe. He was the one in the family who negotiated all our car buying, took care of my car when I had issues, or put the air in the tires when they were low. (Oh yes, there was one time when I decided to buy a VW Passat, the first VW Passat on the market, simply because I thought the new design was hip and cool. That was the last time I ever ventured out of my comfort zone. In 2004, I moved back to the world of Honda.)
We’re thrilled you could join us at our first futuring and trends conference,” said the note in my hotel room, “You’re not here by chance – we see you as a thought leader in your space and are glad to have you as a part of a diverse mix of other innovators and visionaries.” (Finally, yes, the words my astrologist C had spoken two years ago during my astrology reading at the Miraval Spa had come true. I am a trendsetter and now others agree.)
So, what are some of the trends I learned about the past few days and how will these trends impact me during my life after 50? Ford looked at more than 200 trends and clustered them together into five key ones: Living Green, Aging Population, Youth Influence & Global Convergence of Design, Emerging Technologies and Safety for All Ages.
The trend that hit home the most for me was the Aging Population. (Wonder why???) Ford says that “demographic shift is imminent as the worldwide population of older people (50+) becomes a greater percentage of the total population. The 50+ population segment is the fastest-growing worldwide, with predicted life expectancies at a historic high. By 2030, a record one-fifth of the total population will be over 65.”
I started to add up the numbers and think about how old I will be in 2030. I’ll be 72. I hope I’ll still be a trendsetter when I’m in my 70s. (Note: Futurist speaker Joel Garreau says that in the future 80 may be the new 40. That may mean when I’m 72, I’ll really be 32. I love these count backs.) Based on all I’ve seen this week at Ford, I might be a real trendsetter and live in my car. I think when I’m 70, my car may become a bigger part of my life and help me live a healthier life too. Listen to all the things that my car will be able to do, thanks to the advancements Ford labs are working on now:
– My car will have a multi-contour driver’s seat that will have the potential to monitor my heart rate and move the blood around my body so I won’t get stiff on long drives. It will also sense how stressed out I am and there will be other sensors in the car to tell me what’s going on outside my car to make me so stressed. (I may not need a therapist anymore – my car will be my therapist.)
– My car will have seats that easily help me get in and out of the vehicle. (Maybe the seats will also collapse so I can do yoga in my car.)
– My car will have an easy capless fuel cap, so when my arthritis kicks in I won’t have to turn any knob to open the gas tank.
– My car will have bolder fonts when my vision is limited.
– My car will have wellness apps that connect via the cloud and help me manage any chronic diseases I may have. For example, if I have diabetes – which I hope I won’t, but if I do – I will be able to monitor my blood sugar levels throughout the day whenever I am in or out of my car.
– My car will tell me what the pollen count is outside through a Pollen.com app and if my allergies are acting up, it will alert my car to control the air quality level inside the vehicle.
– My car will have an advanced navigation system that will not only provide the safest route to my destination, but also provide the healthiest way to get there.
– My car will listen to me when I talk to it and it will talk back to me. If I want to make a phone call – perhaps to call my grandkids, if I have any grandkids by then, I hope I do – I won’t need a bluetooth on my ear, I’ll be able to talk through the speakers in my car.
– My car will have a customized music via Pandora radio. When I tell my car what song I want to listen to, it will automatically remember and play the song. (Wonder if I’ll still want to listen to Lady Gaga when I’m 72?) I won’t even have to tap my fingers or push a button.
– My smart phone will be linked to my car, so I will be able to check my stocks, find out the closest and the cheapest gas station, find directions to a restaurant or even look up a menu. My car will be my personal concierge.
What fun it will be to have a car in the future. Now, if Ford can just add a big bathtub to my car, I’ll be all set. I will never have to leave my car, even to take a bath. Imagine that!
Stay tuned for more news from Forward with Ford. In my next post, I’ll share and react to the top 10 boomer trends from guest speaker, Dr. Carol Osborn, author and CEO of BoomerInfluence.com.