Have you ever wondered how transport in the future will be like? Will we be able to teleport wherever we want? Will we have flying cars? Our imagination has been stimulated for decades by Sci-Fi novels and TV series like the Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and Star Wars. But how many of the smart technologies we saw in them will be truly incorporated in future transportation?
The Evolution of Modern Means of Transport
When we think of travel and transportation, we think of cars and planes. We don’t think twice about booking a vacation overseas, because we know we can reach the most distant place on Earth within a day.
However, less than 200 years ago, people were still driving carts and buggies drawn by horses on land and ships over oceans and seas. Thus, the distance of the daily commute to your office represented an exciting and exhausting adventure for your great-grandparents.
History of Means Of Transport
So, before I discuss the modes of transport in the future, I’d like to share with you a timeline of how transport evolved up to the present time.
Here are some key moments in the history of means of transport:
1852 – George Stephenson launches the first commercial railway service.
Locomotion no.1, a steam-powered locomotive, operated in the north-east of England and provided the first public railway transport service in the world;
1886 – German inventor Karl Benz patents his Benz Patent-Motorwagen and is generally accepted as the father of engine-powered cars.
Two years later, in 1888, Karl Benz’s wife Bertha is the first person to take a trip by car. Bertha Benz was trying to prove that her husband’s invention was roadworthy;
1901 – Ransom Olds creates the first large-scale production facility for automobiles at the Oldsmobile factory.
Henry Ford, later on, improved his stationary assembly line by turning it into a moving assembly line;
1903 – Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first brief flights at Kitty Hawk with their invention.
This was the first time when people managed to achieve the controlled flight of an object heavier than air;
1914 – Percival Fansler sells at an auction the first ticket for an airplane trip from Tampa to St. Petersburg, FL, launching the era of commercial flight.
The winner paid $400 for the ticket, the equivalent of approximately $10,000 today.
Everything that followed, from supersonic planes to superfast sports cars, is based on these landmarks in the history of modern means of transport.
So, you may ask yourself: can we invent anything else? Have we reached the end of the possibilities in terms of technology for future transportation? Probably not!
Inventions Are Still Possible and Happening Under Our Eyes
As long as some people dream and refuse to accept the state of things, there will be new discoveries and inventions. No one believed the Wright brothers when they said that they built a flying machine. No one thought that Jules Verne’s stories about submarines and rockets flying to the moon would ever come true.
But here we are, traveling on and underwater, and even sending satellites and spaceships high into the sky. And we also see some significant changes in cars, trains and other established means of transport.
How Can Transport In The Future Look Like?
Here are just a few possibilities we can look forward to concerning transport in the future:
1. Autonomous Cars
Self-driving cars already exist. So far, they have been tested as experimental devices. A significant setback for this modern means of transport happened in March 2018, when a self-driving Uber car hit a woman on the street in Arizona. The woman died en route to the hospital.
However, with the advancements in AI and machine learning, we will soon have safe autonomous cars. They will make our roads safer, allowing people to get back home after a party without driving under the influence.
2. Glow In Dark Roads
Speaking of roads, they will change from the black band we see today crisscrossing countries. In the future, road builders will incorporate luminescent materials that will make streets glow in the dark.
Thus, driving at night will be a lot safer, without the risk of missing a turn or a signal for a one-way street. This future transportation technology will also make street lamps unnecessary, as well.
3. The Hyperloop
Elon Musk, the visionary inventor and founder of the Tesla company, believes that high-speed transport is possible – but not above ground. He imagined a system of underground tubes between two destinations, shooting pods at very high speeds.
This project is now under development by Hyperloop Technologies, a start-up that vows to have the first operational pods ready by 2025. According to the plans, the estimated speed of these pods would be up to 500 mph.
For a complete understanding of how it works, watch this video – Hyperloop explained.
4. Flying Cars
Yes, Sci-Fi movies got it right about this type of future transportation. Flying cars in the future will become a reality. In fact, the first prototype of this modern means of transport, AeroMobil 3.0, made its debut at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna back in 2014.
Also, Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, has already invested $100 million in a project developing flying cars.
And according to various experts, you may own a flying car in the near future, by 2050 – although you might not be allowed to fly it in certain areas.
5. Hypersonic Jets
Hypersonic speed is equal to Mach 5, that is, five times the speed of sound. This means around 3,800 mph.
At this speed, a flight from New York to London would take a mere hour, barely enough to get settled down and stretch your feet.
But planes cannot fly that fast, can they? Not right now, but soon they will. Future transportation is all about getting at the destination faster than ever. In a few years, hypersonic jets will exist – but most probably, only the very rich will afford the ticket price.
However, in time, as the adoption rate of hypersonic technology will increase, these flights will become more affordable, at least for your annual vacation to an exotic destination.
What do you think? Will there be other modern means of transport available for all of us in the near future? Or how do you envision future transportation 10, 20, and 50 years from now? Share your opinions in the comments section below!
Featured Image Credits – nbcnews.com