If you’ve been following the transportation industry lately, you’ve noticed our future is edging closer and closer to science-fiction. And it’s happening rapidly. Just a few years back self-driving cars sounded like a pipe dream–now they’re driving around several major cities. A decade ago, electric cars seemed impractical due to short range charges. Today, batteries last much longer, charging stations are way more prevalent, and some countries are even developing solar powered roads to charge electric cars as they drive. With these changes (along with everything else in this technology-driven age) we know better than to say “never” to even the seemingly far-fetched ideas. It’s a healthy perspective when wading through the latest mobility news.
Here are 3 modes of transportation set to change the world:
Originally the idea of Twitter’s favorite entrepreneur, Elon Musk, the Hyperloop concept is a sealed capsule propelled through a vacuum tube by way of magnetic levitation. This low pressure chamber eliminates drag, allowing the capsule to travel at extremely high speeds. Since Musk’s initial proposal of the idea back in 2013, several other companies have taken on development of the hyperloop, including Virgin Hyperloop One whose capsule currently clocks in at speeds near 400 mph. This would cut a four-day truck haul down to 16 hours. The hyperloop would also be open to regular commuters as well. It’ll be years before a hyperloops are prevalent, but the CEO of HTT says their system will be open by 2020.
Urban transport pods
You’ve heard of self-driving cars, but what about pods? Rather than purchasing their own self-driving cars, commuters could one day hop into an autonomous shuttle, type in their destination, and kick back until they arrive. London has been trialing driverless pods for over a year with the goal of understanding how they would fit into the city’s existing travel infrastructure. They’ve ferried over 5,000 passengers and according to a survey of 1,000 passengers, 43% said they felt confident about the technology. Similar transport pods are being tested in Dubai, Germany, and France. It’s still unclear when pods would be running regularly through cities, but given the rapid advancement of the tech and public approval, we could see them in the 2020’s.
We’ve all been hearing about driverless cars since before the Jetsons. But it wasn’t until recently that we began seeing the first signs that this method of transportation will not only be possible, but likely quite prevalent. Large, luxury automakers like Rolls-Royce and Aston-Martin have revealed their concepts for personal-use flying cars, both of which can hit speeds of 200+ mph. Uber and NASA have also teamed up to develop flying taxis. Their ride-sharing network could go public as early as 2020.