In December, top government leaders from around the world will negotiate in Paris for almost two weeks to try to tackle climate change. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (a.k.a. COP21) is focused on trying to pin down some type of agreement between all the nations of the world, for how to limit global warming so the world heats up by no more than 2 ⁰C. This will be no easy task. The last attempt at such an agreement was in Copenhagen in 2009, and it failed to make any real commitments.
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There are many visions for the future of the automobile. Some look to the drivetrain and debate whether the internal combustion engine (ICE) will give way to battery-powered plug-in vehicles, or to fuel cell vehicles, or evolve to run on biofuels or natural gas. Others point to advanced materials, or to self-driving cars, while others still look beyond the car itself, to disruptive use cases like car sharing and taxi replacements (see Figure 1). While debates tend to revolve around whether one or another of these innovations will or won't become a dominant solution, the reality is that multiple advances will reshape the industry over the coming decades. One common but under appreciated thread runs through all the innovations that are likely to succeed – safety.