With the evolving trends of technology, innovations in the transportation domain are not too far behind to set the stage for future developments. Technology has the potential to reform the transportation industry in terms of efficiency, safety, and speed – the three most important aspects that drive conveyance.
Automobiles of the future are expected to leverage the immense potential of technology and make our commuting experience more comfortable than it is today. Keeping the ever-rising population in mind, the future transportation options will be optimized to reduce accidents, be environment-friendly and lessen traffic-congestion woes.
With smart mobility options expected to swamp the transportation industry in the upcoming years, here’s a glimpse at the future.
The term ‘maglev’ is derived from magnetic levitation and this is the exact theory that the Maglev trains employ to ply. This train uses the theory of electromagnetism to float and move over the tracks at high speed.
The Maglev tracks are lined with a metal coil and the train has magnets attached to its underside. The train levitates about 10 centimeters above the track owing to the repelling force between these two magnets. Electricity is supplied to the metal coils of the track with constantly alternating polarity. This creates a magnetic field along the track that propels the train forward with high speed. The absence of friction adds to the speed that can go up to 310 mph.
These trains are already operational in Japan and Shanghai and are expected to go mainstream in the future.
Accident casualties on the road have reached an alarmingly high number of 1.25 million every year. Even after implementing scores of road safety rules and technologies like anti-lock brakes to reduce accidents, the number hasn’t gone down much. The solution? Self-driving cars. It has been found that over 90% of car crashes result from human error. Replacing human drivers with in-built programs to maneuver the car is estimated to make the roads far safer. Apart from saving lives, this can also contribute to saving the economy.
For a self-driving or autonomous car, it is the car that does the driving for you while you simply occupy the vehicle and get transported safely from one place to the other. These cars are programmed to predict the possibility of a crash and adjust its driving specification to avoid it. With automated functions controlling the car, the driving decisions will be quicker and safer.
Google’s self-driving-car project has already created waves in the automobile industry by letting loose its fleet. Companies like Tesla and Mercedes are already testing the waters by incorporating self-driving features in their cars. By 2020, the number of self-driving cars on the road are expected to hit 10 million!
The brainchild of Elon Musk, who is the founder of Tesla Motors, the Hyperloop will revolutionize public transportation massively. The concept of the Hyperloop involves a steel tube that contains aluminum capsules which can transport people and cars at lightning fast speeds – 760 mph to be exact. The high speed of the Hyperloop will cut down the transportation duration between Los Angeles and San Francisco to just 35 minutes. This capsule will be powered by solar energy.
Plans for building the first Hyperloop transportation system are already underway. Last year, the startup, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies already bought land in the Quay Valley, California to begin the construction of the Hyperloop. This capsule is proposed to hold up to 75000 residents and is expected to begin plying from 2018.
However, there have been criticisms surrounding this concept owing to its price tag. Elon Musk has estimated the cost to be around $6 billion. However, the final expenditure for the project could go up to $100 billion.
3D Printed Cars
Can you imagine your car lasting a lifetime? With the recent developments in the 3D industry, you now can. The concept of the 3D printed car has leaped from the open-sourced, experimental phase to the prospects of mass production in recent years.
In fact, Local Motors, an Arizona-based technology company is already creating waves in the transportation industry with the world’s first 3D printed car. This car is slated to go on sale this year at $53,000. Approximately 75% of the car’s parts are 3D printed and the company is planning to make that 90% recently. Most of the parts are recyclable. With the facility to print most of the components, this car could actually last a lifetime!
Time is money. Perhaps that is why we have so much to complain about the traffic jam. The SkyTran is all set to eliminate the stress of surface traffic with its incredible aerial public transportation technology. These are pod-shaped cars that will run 20 feet above the ground on elevated rails. The rails will be held up by supports which look like telephone poles. The capsules will float beneath the tracks with the help of magnetic levitation and will be able to travel at a maximum speed of 150 mph.
The SkyTran will be almost like a personal limo service. Commuters will be able to call a car via an app on their smartphones and the SkyTran will pick them up and drop them from as close to their locations as the tracks permit.
The SkyTran concept is quite close to reality. SkyTran, the company that has been responsible for developing this system, has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries to begin the construction of a test project at Tel Aviv, Israel. This is set complete by the end of this year. The car will hold up to 4 people. Later on, more cars will be added to the system to transport more people. Plans of expansion for SkyTran to other Israeli cities and some cities in the U.S. by the end of 2018 are underway.
Even though some of the future transportation systems may seem a little far-fetched, plans of making these a reality have already been set into motion. These proposed options are expected to make transportation reliable, quick and something out a sci-fi movie. With rapid advances in technology, we can safely say that the future is finally here.