8 New mind-blowing modes of Transportation
Mankind has been obsessed with transportation pretty much since we discovered we could use something other that our own legs to carry us around. We don't even need to go for a walk anymore; why not go for a drive and save your energy?
However, not every innovation is the brainchild of laziness; some people just want to make transportation more efficient, safer, or in some cases, more interesting. This list covers all three.
Anyone who has taken a modern commuter bus knows that there are far worse ways of getting around. In fact, this was written while reclining on one in rush-hour traffic from Boston, in air conditioning, using the free wi-fi. How could it possibly get better?
Well, the Dutch company making the super bus in the picture above has some ideas. That vehicle is designed to do away with many of the things that aren't great about buses. For starters, instead of a central aisle with one entrance (and long lines waiting for a seat), this thing sports 30-something side doors for quick boarding and departing. It also stands no taller than an SUV, and is planned to be made out of composite materials, so it will be light and fuel efficient.
What's the fuel? Electricity. But the main drawback to using a bus instead of, say, a train is that you can still get stuck in traffic. But in the case of the superbus, it is going to be designed to use a new track infrastructure so that it can leave the traffic behind when it needs to. Oh, and in case you think the 50 to 75 MPH speed limits might still keep this from being incredibly awesome for a bus, it is being designed to cruise at 155 mph (on the tracks, I assume... I hope...) and will go from 0 to 60 in 36 seconds. Not bad for a bus.
I couldn't much more on this than what is detailed here, but this is part Segway, part unicycle. You steer it and accelerate/slow down by leaning, and the two side by side tires move independently for stability. Wow.
How about a personal maglev train? Granted, it wouldn't truly be "yours" per se, but you and a friend would share a pod to get around instead of cramming on to a subway or trying to flag down a taxi. You would just walk up, crawl in, and go where you need to go. No word on HOW you let it know where you need to go, but I will assume that the people looking to sink millions int a project like this have thought that part through.
Okay, for starters, if you have seen this before touted as the Boeing 797, then you probably read the same things I did. That was a rumor, one that was debunked by Boeing itself. However, there are people who think it is a good idea and are working to make it a reality. Smart people, like the fine folks at NASA.
Much like the superbus, this would be made with composite materials, since there are plenty of ceramics and plastics being made these days that are stronger than steel and allow for shapes that mere metal just can't hope to hold. They are also much lighter, so there is that overall increase in efficiency we all love.
The shape would also allow for 800 to 1000 passengers to sit in theater style seating, which is an advantage from one perspective, but when i think about having to sit for 8 hours in the same arrangement I had for Sweeny Todd, I become hesitant. As long as they have hot dogs I would probably be fine.
This is a hypersonic airliner. This is a design that makes the previous vehicle the equivalent of upgrading your covered wagon to a bigger covered wagon, and then comparing it to a Porsche. Its called the Reaction Engines A2 and is a new concept in travel from the EU. It is being designed to use liquid hydrogen as fuel AND coolant for the engines, and would be able to reach Sydney from Brussels in 4.6 hours. For the few of you not familiar with the distance, that is usually a full day flight.
They want it to travel at 5 times the speed of sound, and would be made of, you guessed it, composite materials.. It would be larger, but lighter than a 747, and would still be able to use the exact same flight lines and airports as modern aircraft. What would it cost to fly on this?
They are aiming for business class prices, so don't be expecting Southwestern to be launching these things any time soon, but it beats the hell out of what they were charging for the Concord.
It's a floating city. No, they aren't kidding. This isn't being designed as a big boat for cruising though, they are looking to make it an honest-to-God city. It would circumnavigate the world every 3 years, giving the residents access to many different locations over time. It will have a built in airport, malls, apartments, etc.
The project has been around for almost 20 years now, but has been mired in controversy and suffered from a severe lack of sponsorship, which is a problem when you think about the fact that their estimated cost went from $6 billion in 2001 to $11 billion in 2008.
It is a very cool idea, and very science fiction, which makes it very attractive to me (although I would be reluctant to pack up my family and live on a giant boat). However, this thing seems ripe for a horror movie. Imagine if the Poseidon adventure had been set on a 1 mile long boat with an entire community on it?
This is what would be referred to as a "Vactrain". The concept is a subway that stretches from either LA to New York, or New York to London, which would be held in a vacuum. Why a vacuum? Because with no air, therefore no air resistance, they would be free to let the maglev train running inside it travel at terrifyingly high speeds like 4000-5000mph!
Transcontinental travel would be measured in less than an hour; you could live in New York and work in LA, every single day. Of course, there is the scary thought of a window breaking while travelling several times the speed of sound in a total vacuum, and the fact that earthquakes would be way way worse for subway travel than they are now, but no doubt that has been taken into account.
Plus, with studies going these days with those new fangled metamaterials, they are looking into simply redirecting seismic waves around things. Let's hear it for mankind! Finally, the laws of nature are just suggestions.