Our civilization has developed thanks to transport. And it doesn't take 80 days to travel around the world, as it did in the 19th century.
But transport continues to evolve, we can imagine how it will look in the future. It turns out that examples and projects of future transport are already among us, you just need to look around.
Hyperloop. The plot, when a genius billionaire develops an innovative electric car, deals with space programs and invents an alternative banking system, is possible only in science fiction films. In fact, in reality, such a character exists. Elon Musk has founded companies such as Tesla Motors, SpaceX and PayPal. Now he is busy revolutionizing the public transport system. Not long ago, a billionaire published his idea for a superfast intercity transportation system. Thanks to her, it would be possible to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 35 minutes. The system was named Hyperloop and is a steel pipe mounted on supports. Aluminum capsules with people and cars will have to move in it at a speed of 1200 kilometers per hour. And the Sun will give energy for the operation of such transport. This system has one drawback - its cost. Musk calculated that the construction of the Hyperloop in the first phase will be $ 70 billion, and in the future this amount will increase to an even more staggering $ 100 billion. The Hyperloop also has its own critics. Many people consider it too expensive, others - impractical and even too slow. Be that as it may, the stubborn billionaire is promoting his project. A startup called "Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc." showed the prototype timeline, where the date is the first quarter of 2015. Time will tell how much such transport will be in demand in the future. It is likely that we are already close to super-fast travel between cities using the Hyperloop.
Nuclear-powered vehicles. Today, the issues of using nuclear power are rather controversial. Relative cheapness goes hand in hand with great danger. However, there are no alternatives to nuclear power in the future. It is no coincidence that one American company is even developing transport based on radioactive fuel. For many years, laser power plants have operated using the properties of thorium. It is he who is responsible for maintaining high temperatures in the core of our planet. Government projects are devoted to the use of thorium in nuclear power plants, but the companies working with laser power plants have different goals. They want to create an engine for a car that will be powered by a tiny piece of radioactive material. Thorium will give off heat, which can turn the water into steam. This will launch a group of small turbines that will generate electricity. The advantage of thorium is its high density, and hence the prospect of getting a lot of energy from a small mass of matter. It is estimated that a piece of 8 grams is enough to provide a car with energy for a hundred years. In other words, drivers will not have to pay for fuel. This prospect of the future pleases many, they are not even afraid of the risks of working with a radioactive substance.
Supercavitation. The idea of supercavitation in marine engineering has recently become more and more popular, gaining fans. This is the name of the effect based on a layer of gas bubbles formed around some object immersed in liquid. It's easy to understand - just look at the submarine's hull, surrounded by bubbles. It turns out that gas reduces friction by up to 900 times compared to normal conditions. This allows the underwater body to move much faster relative to normal conditions. A boat using the supercavitation effect would be a valuable find for any navy. Not only is it fast moving and wasting little fuel, but its shape also interferes with sonar detection. Such a submarine will even be able to overtake torpedoes. And the private company Juliet Marine Systems from Portsmouth, New Hampshire is trying to create a submarine of the future. The project was named "Ghost". Such a submarine should initially guard naval vessels, repel pirate attacks on merchant ships. And who said that a high-speed submarine cannot be a transport, quickly transferring the same military to the enemy's shores?
Martin Jetpack. In 2010, TIME magazine published fifty of the most promising inventions of mankind. One of them was the Martin Jetpack, called the most practical jetpack in the world. If earlier it was believed that such transport would be present only in the space era, today the figment of the imagination of science fiction writers has become a reality. New Zealander Glenn Martin is engaged in this project. He has been promoting a promising invention for thirty years, assuring that the commercial sale of the flight backpack will begin soon. The Martin Jetpack is driven by small propellers and can run for up to half an hour in a single session. With the help of such a backpack, you can reach a speed of 74 kilometers per hour and climb to an altitude of 900 meters. Gliding quickly at this height with a backpack can be useful for firefighters and rescuers. It is for the first responders that this device is currently being developed. And for those who want to learn how to move quickly and high with a jetpack, it will be available for sale in mid-2014 for $ 200,000.
City of bicycles. Bicycles are a simple and ecological form of transport. It would be ideal if everyone got to work with it. But people will have to make an effort for this. True, it is likely that such trips will become easier in the future. In 2006, Toronto published plans for a year-round, high-speed, and environmentally friendly transit system. Not only will it be very quiet, it will also allow people to heal. In other words, there will be a cycle path on steroids. This idea was invented by the Canadian architect Chris Hardwicke. He plans to build a tube for three-lane bicycle traffic and put it on supports. The pipes will be divided according to directions, which will create a tailwind with the help of circulating air. This will improve the efficiency of bicycles by 90 percent and accelerate to 50 kilometers per hour. The project was named “the city of bicycles”. It is perfect for places with cold climates, as cyclists will be protected from the weather inside the pipes. Although this idea immediately aroused enthusiasm, the project was postponed for a while due to a lack of funding. True, this does not mean that they have forgotten about him. So it is likely that in the future, not air taxis, but banal bicycles will sweep over our heads.
Next. Among the many projects of Google, the autonomous vehicle Next stands out. Half a taxi and half a segway. Outwardly, the design resembles origami, and special emphasis is placed on the interaction of the device with society. To understand what Next is, you must first see it. Designer Tommaso Gekchelin sees in the future a world in which it will be possible to call a vehicle using a smartphone. The autonomous Next module will arrive and pick up the passenger. After landing on the chair, which can be configured according to the wishes of the person, the doors will close. On four wheels, this module will move along the road until it encounters similar vehicles. This is where a magical metamorphosis will take place. The seat will remain upright, but the module itself will be rebuilt - it will have two wheels and will join the general group. A panel will appear in front of the person, and it will seem to him that he has got on a train. And disconnecting a module is as easy as connecting. After approaching the destination, undocking will occur in order to seamlessly disembark at the desired point. The idea sounds really fantastic. In order for it to be realized, it is worth going a long way. The Gekchelin project provides for a whole schedule of development and implementation of new technologies. Only then can Next be built and mass-produced. First, you need to learn how to create cheap nanomaterials, a consumer self-driving car, a high-capacity battery and cheap solar panels. According to the designer's plans, humanity will be ready to launch his project already in 2025.
Colelinio. Currently, zip-lines are a kind of attraction. But in the future, these routes may become part of the transport system. It is this concept that was put forward by Martin Angelov at the TEDx conference in Thessaloniki in 2010. A project was proposed in which the sky would be crossed out by many wires, which will allow people to be transported from place to place. Isn't that more profitable than building heavy vehicles and roads for them? Implementation of such an idea would remove cars from the streets and contribute to the creation of sustainable transport infrastructure. Travelers using the Colelinio system will buckle up in the seats, and the battery will supply power through a tight wire. Then the zip-line will begin, approaching the ground in pedestrian areas and climbing higher in busy areas. But this project also has its drawbacks. How will Colelinio work if bad weather sets in? What should those who are afraid of heights do, and how will security issues be implemented in general? But you shouldn't give up this innovative idea, you just have to wait until someone rethinks it and translates it into reality.
Skylon. Skylon is positioning itself as the successor to the Concorde. This aircraft developed supersonic speed, but due to design problems it was finally decommissioned in 2003. But in 2013, the UK announced its desire to spend more than $ 90 million on the development of Skylon. This plane should become very fast, overtaking sound five times. Skylon will be able to fly out of Earth's orbit into outer space. The plane will be able to start from an ordinary airfield. A 300-passenger flight from London to Sydney takes just four hours. This vehicle will also be able to deliver cargo weighing up to 15 tons to the International Space Station. And development has already begun. But some serious problems were immediately discovered. So, the head of the MIT International Center for Air Transportation John Hasman said that Skylon looks very logical from the point of view of science fiction. But in reality, it is very difficult to create such a vehicle. And the amount of $ 90 million is enough only for the initial expenses. The final cost of the project may exceed a billion dollars. However, scientists and journalists are optimistic about the implementation of this project. According to plans, a prototype will be ready by 2017. The real aircraft will appear in a couple of years. And then the future, which seemed distant, will come - through space it will be possible to fly to any point on the planet in just 4 hours. So says the head of the "Reaction Engines" company Alan Bond. It is this company that develops the engines of the aircraft of the future.
Scarab. This motorcycle is a relative of the famous Harley Davidson, but it just looks like a time traveler. The concept is a streamlined device, not particularly resembling its eminent predecessor in its shape. The scarab is a closed device with a place for luggage. And it runs on biofuel, electric batteries or conventional fuel. This concept can be controlled manually, or you can give it the ability to move independently along special paths. And for the city, such a tool is best suited. The scarab, although it moves on four wheels, can lean on two of them to facilitate parking. It's great that this device is also foldable. The Scarab concept was invented by designer David Miguel Moreira Gonçalves. He decided to create a machine that would help protect the environment. The original plans indicated that a new transportation system was planned, which would consist of a revolutionary vehicle and associated infrastructure. The system must become so resilient as to adapt to different urban conditions. The designer noted that people choose private cars, not public transport. That is why Gonsalves tried to create a light and ecological transport, while maintaining his personality. But not a single Scarab has yet been built. But, who knows, maybe in the near future they will help us make environmentally friendly walks and travel.
Skytran. The “Fertile Crescent” in the East is considered the ancient cradle of civilization. In its very center are Israel and Tel Aviv. But this is not at all a deserted area, life is in full swing here. Tel Aviv is a bustling and modern city that never stops for 24 hours. Consequently, there is also a traditional transport problem. That is why Tel Aviv decided to create magnetic air transport not in the distant future, but in the near future. The new system was named "Skytran". Its creators, as in many other fantastic transport projects, raised their gaze to the heavens. It was decided that the Skytran would move along metal paths at a height of six meters. In fact, there is even no movement directly along the paths - the capsule wagons hang over them, simply hovering without any friction due to magnetic levitation (Maglev technology). Passengers can call the trailer to the nearest station using the app on their smartphone. You can get to the vehicle using the usual stairs up to the platform. It is planned that the trailers will operate independently of each other and deliver passengers as close as possible to their destination, depending on the capabilities of the tracks. Skytran's CEO, Jerry Sanders, reckons the ride is slightly more expensive than a regular bus, but cheaper than a taxi for the same distance. And taking into account the installation of solar panels, the transport system promises to be also environmentally friendly. Skytran will be able to accelerate to 240 kilometers per hour, but in the early stages it will work slower. People need to gradually get used to a new rhythm and to the fact that the future has already come. The shape of the wagons seemed to come from the comics of the 1950s, and the system itself seemed to be copied from there. However, this is exactly what the future of Tel Aviv municipal authorities sees. Who knows, maybe other cities will follow this example, and soon we will all be flying across the sky?