Technological Innovation in Transportation

The era of information technology is continuously surprising us with new creations that make life a lot less complex and more efficient for us. Take the Google self-driven cars for instance; although they are still under development, they have the potential to bring new things to potential drivers. It brings further safety  by preventing drinking and driving, and it allows individuals who are unable to drive due to disabilities to have the opportunity to drive themselves around the area in order to complete their errands (“Look, no hands”, 2013).  Google cars create further safety by preventing many accidents. Whether these accidents are due to technological distractions such as cellphones or due to a mistake or even poor and uneducated decisions, it avoids such accidents and may potentially save millions who die a year due to motor vehicle accidents. The Google car, however, is just the beginning of the development of the technology on transportation systems around the world. Just as the Google self-driving car brings both efficiency and safety, many other products are in the planning stage or developmental stage to make transportation faster, as well as safer for all. Here are a few further examples of technological innovations in transportation and the potential benefits that come with such advances.

The Hyperloop

An individual by the name of Elon Musk in the past year has proposed the creation of a 4,000 mph train that would be used in order to further connect the east with the west states in the US (Rundle, 2013). Such a proposal could revolutionize how individuals choose to travel. Furthermore, it connects these individuals by enabling such individuals to travel for jobs. Such enables individuals who enjoy living on one coast the ability to commute to work across the coast while maintaining their current household. This could be ground-breaking for jobs as individuals will no longer be left to find a job within their area, forced to drive across a city or state, as well as preventing the issue of job relocations.  It was estimated that the hyperloop could reduce time travelled as a trip from California to New York could be completed in 45 minutes and would moreover, be safer than a plane or rail system as it would never crash (Rundle, 2013). Another potential benefit of the hyperloop is the potential of creating an energy safe mode of transportation. Elon Musk claims that the creation of the hyperloop could be solar powered, potentially saving the power or fuel used to run both cars and railways (Rundle, 2013).

The one potential drawback that has been hypothesized is only the cost to create the hyperloop. It is estimated that the hyperloop would cost too much to construct (Rundle, 2013).

hyperloop

EPFL Modular Aircraft

A company known as École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has been working since 2009 to develop a modular aircraft that would allow an individual to go to a train station to take a plane (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). The main premise behind this concept is that an individual would enter a train station and board a capsule. This capsule would take the individual to the airport and then without the individual having to leave their seat, yet alone the train, they would be flown to the desired city they wished to travel to (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). “EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013 furthermore states that the flying wing used to transport the individuals can hold up to 3 capsules, with each capsule containing 150 individuals. This idea provides various benefits including the number of passengers. Since each capsule may contain 150 individuals, each wing could carry approximately 450 passengers, allowing more individuals an opportunity to travel at one time rather than having a plane that only seats 150. This project also provides individuals with further efficiency as individuals do not have to fear how individuals will reach the airport, and seek individuals to drive them to and from the airport. Individuals can instead reach their destination via a railway and thus, no fear of inconveniencing family or friends to drive them to the airport and back. It furthermore provides individuals a quicker transportation from one destination to another. Not only does this capsule provide more individuals the ability to travel, but the flexibility of these capsule flights also avoid the chances of empty flights (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). These aircrafts also transport more individuals with less the amount of fuel used and CO2 emissions than regular planes (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). Drawbacks would be rather minimal and would most likely involve the cost to build as well as set up the connecting railway system.

aircraft

Jetpacks

A company located in New Zealand has created jetpacks that are expected to be released in 2015. Currently test runs have been underway and said to be capable of a 30 minute flight (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013). The article “Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away” continues by stating that this jetpack can reach an altitude of 1.5km, with a top speed being 74 kilometers per hour. These jetpacks were created for career purpose rather than a travel purpose. It was stated that these jetpacks are aimed for individuals working in an emergency type of career such as fire and rescue services (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013).

The benefit of this product would be more for fire and rescue instances as it may make rescues as well as fire emergencies more efficient as well as safer. The drawback however is the price of the jetpack themselves. They cost approximately US $150, 000 for a commercial model and US $250, 000 for a military model (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013).

jetpack

Straddle Bus

One technological advance I find highly beneficial is China’s idea of a straddle bus. A straddle bus would exist on the roads just like a typical bus, however, rather than it acting as a regular bus, it functions much like that of train. Instead of blocking the road though, the tracks would be on the sides of the lane with the passenger area for travellers would be higher up so that cars would still be able to drive under the bus. Explaining this system is rather difficult so hopefully this youtube video helps.

Such a creation brings numerous benefits, one of them being the ability to eliminate traffic (“Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon”, 2013). This allows cars to travel underneath it, thus cars would no longer become congested from the constant stopping of the bus. Furthermore, due to the avoidance of traffic, it allows the system to be on time, allowing recipients to travel without fear of being late. Compared to a typical railway, this system would cost less, would take less time to build, match current passenger capacity, is economical, safe, and eliminates the hours spent in traffic (“Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon”, 2013). Thus, it would an extremely beneficial way of travelling and may promote more individuals to commute rather than drive a car to work.

Although most of the above are not yet developed, and for some, only talk of its development exists, most of these creations are good examples of how far we have come as human beings within the world. With ideas and creations such as these, I am excited to see future ideas and creations as well as some of these inventions unfold to benefit all.

straddle bus

Work Cited

EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show (w/ Video). (2013, June 10). EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show (w/ Video). Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://phys.org/news/2013-06-epfl-modular-aircraft-paris-air.html

Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away. (2013, September 21). The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11127854

Look, no hands. (2013, April 20). The Economist. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21576224-one-day-every-car-may-come-invisible-chauffeur-look-no-hands

Rundle, M. (2013, July 16). Elon Musk To Unveil ‘Hyperloop’ 4000MPH Mega Train. The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/16/hyperloop-august-12-desig_n_3603243.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon. (2013, September 13). ZeitNews. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.zeitnews.org/applied-sciences/transportation/straddle-bus-may-be-coming-down-road-soon

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