A few decades ago, people were predicting the future. They were predicting all kinds of futuristic, cool transportation methods that were going to revolutionise our lives and have us zipping through the air on our awesome and safe flying machines.
We are now that future, and frankly it’s disappointing. It’s not that cool devices have not been invented, they have, it’s just that they are not yet commercially viable or available to the everyday person. So unless you have a few bar in your bank account, you’re stuck with the good old-fashioned car, motorbike or bicycle in the meantime.
But what does the future hold, both for human transportation and for delivery. Let’s take a look.
Drones are here. They are used mostly as remote killing machines, or more pleasantly, for an aerial perspective for photography and video shoots. But Amazon is already working on its model to use “Octocopter” drones that will deliver packages to your doorstep within 30 minutes of making an online purchase. I’m sure this is dependent on which countries Amazon operates in, but Jeff Bezos reckons Amazon could be offering this service within 4 – 5 years.
It’s 2015 and all I can say is, dude, where’s my jetpack? Seriously, it was 1984 when some daredevil flew his jet pack in a Los Angles Stadium during the opening ceremony for the Olympics. 30 Years later and I’m still waiting. Sure, I’ve seen some awesome YouTube footage of guys strutting their stuff in their fancy jetpacks, but for the ordinary person, it’s still a pipe dream. Maybe our kids will enjoy them, if they ever become affordable and safe enough.
It’s kind of annoying that we’re going to have commercial driverless vehicles before the jetpack. But these cars have already been tested in the USA and other countries, with pretty decent results. For those who grew up in the 80’s and remember Night Rider, the idea of kicking back and reading a book or catching 40 winks while your car safely negotiates the traffic is pretty awesome.
The most exciting thing is that is not just a pipe dream. Google’s self-driving cars are already strutting their stuff, albeit in testing mode, and most of the minor accidents that have occurred with self-driving cars have been caused by other vehicles.
Google hopes to make these cars commercially available by 2020, and with four US states, plus Washington DC, having already passed legislation allowing driverless cars, the future is looking good.
If this concept could work for transport trucks as well the days of accidents been caused by driver-fatigue might be gone forever.
This is the latest concept by Elon Musk, creator of the Tesla electric car and founder of Space X, the company that can do whatever NASA does and more, just better and cheaper. His latest vison for the future is The Hyperloop, a high speed transportation method that involves an elevated steel reduced pressure tube, which will allow pressurised capsules to travel at enormous speeds on an air cushion. All powered by solar energy of course.
The idea is for there to be one for passengers only and one for passengers and vehicles. A top speed mentioned is 1200 km/h and an average speed of about 962km/h. Now while this is very much in its conceptual phase, with Elon Musk anything is possible. While it’s not quite teleporting, it’s probably as close as where we’re going to get. If we get there at all.
Skylon is a concept that could make long tedious flights a thing of the past. Skylon will be a super-fast plane that will travel at 5x the speed of sound and be able to travel in outer space.
Think London to Sydney in four hours, or, used as a transportation vehicle, it could deliver up to 15 tonnes of equipment to the international space station.
The future is bright people, and fast, and if by the time I get my jetpack it has to be attached to my wheel chair, so be it.