A few decades from now, the kids of today, maybe your own children, will look back and remember a rapidly changing automotive industry.  Chances are, a handful of vehicles will highlight their memories of current automotive technology.  Here's a few names that are likely to come up in conversation, and how they've left their marks on the motor vehicle as we know it.

Toyota Prius

Good luck trying to discuss modern cars without mentioning hybrids, alternatives fuels, battery power, or emissions regulations.  One example of the changes we have seen in recent years is the Toyota Prius - among the first mass produced gasoline-electric hybrids.  Now that hybrids aren't so rare anymore, the Prius doesn't seem so unique.  Still, it will be remembered for bringing hybrid technology into the driveways of today's drivers.

Hummer

In stark contrast to the Prius, the Hummer is an icon of excess and ego.  The Hummer, in its various forms, figuratively flips the bird to Prius drivers around the world.  It says, "I'm big, I'm in your face, I'm wasteful, and I don't care - get out of my way!"  Now, I don't have anything personal against Hummer drivers.  Let's face it, the Hummer is a remarkable piece of technology, and has developed an unmistakable image for itself worldwide.  It's eventual demise will mark the end of an era of uninhibited growth and excessive luxury, without concern for environmental impact.  Are Hummer drivers responsible for global warming?  No, but that doesn't mean they won't still be getting blamed for it 30 years from now.

Bugatti Veyron

Every generation has at least one killer supercar.  With global sports car designers in constant competition, it's tough to be king of the hill for long.  Now, I'm not saying the Bugatti Veyron is everyone's favorite, or the "best", but like it or not, you've got to admit the Veyron is a real superstar.  Its no-compromise design has resulted in a beautifully styled speed machine, with ridiculous amounts of horsepower and astounding top speed capability.  Bugatti has tested the known limits of factory produced performance.

Tesla Roadster

In a world focused on going green, being environmentally responsible has begun to sound like a punishment at times - especially for automotive manufacturers.  With early hybrids and electric vehicle concepts looking rather bland, and moving at rather conservative speeds, driving green will need help appealing to enthusiasts.  Enter Tesla.  The California based electric car company blew our minds a few years ago with the idea that electric cars could be fun.  REALLY fun.  Although Tesla's success has yet to be proven, it has played a major role in bringing attention to the fun side of green, and will be remembered by enthusiasts for years to come.

Think back to your childhood - the roots of your obsession with cars.  Which ones stick out in your memory?  What was it about them that impacted the automotive world at the time?  Share them with us in the comments!