Two bugaboos for our future

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For any young folk out there, with a strong STEM background, get into batteries. Seriously. This will be the golden fleece. I have said before - robotics, nano, battery, or AI are just some of the very hot fields for the world of tomorrow.

I have addressed this many times in the past few years. It started out just appearing in some tech blogs. Now it is everywhere - especially the websites of the auto manufacturers. The future of transport is coming, and it is coming fast. How fast? Many car companies are already retooling. EV and Hybrid baby! All the way! The only problem is we many have been over driving our headlights. Seems a critical part of the new transports are not nearly ready for prime time (as yet).
Before I worked high tech programs at FMC in the early 1990's, I did not know spit about batteries or capacitors. Then I got assigned to a developing technology, called the 9 mega-joule electro-thermal gun. All I knew about batteries was how to put them in a flashlight. That changed quickly once I worked that program. In any event, I became very conversant in this new technology, and very quickly. Then years later, while working on the technology programs at Ecolab, batteries once again was the issue d'jour. As much as I thought I knew about batteries, Fujitsu (the tablet supplier to Ecolab), took me to a whole new level of understanding.
Flash forward to now. In the media today there was a "shocking" article about the failure of EV cars to handle the cold or the heat. Let me first say - the cold. This has been something I have wondered about for a few years now. How in the world will and EV handle a Minnesota winter? Seems not too well. Gasp! Yes, when the temp gets below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (common in a MN winter from November to April), the batteries lose up to 40% of their charge. And in hot climates (hello, Florida), they can lose over 20% just keeping the cab cool.
Okay Bird - no big surprise for us Minnesotans who have left batteries in the garage over winter. What is the other "bugaboo"? AI for the self drivers. There are a whole bunch of applications for autonomous vehicles getting ready to hit the market, and the AI is not quite ready to be fool proof. What does that mean? By 2025, when some planners want pods ready to pick you up at home, get on a smart road, and drive 80 mph at one pod distance from the pod in front, the users want it to be fail safe. Will it be? I think so. But again, we might be over driving our headlights.
For any young folk out there, with a strong STEM background, get into batteries. Seriously. This will be the golden fleece. I have said before - robotics, nano, battery, or AI are just some of the very hot fields for the world of tomorrow. Whatever company or country can crack the battery puzzle, the payoff will be in the high billions - maybe trillions. But the future is coming. We just need our technology to be ready for it.
When is the future coming? Now. Are we ready for it? We better be, or this house of cards will fall very quickly.