How will we get from A to B in the future? Will innovations in transport over the next fifty years revolutionise the way we traverse the globe? Forward thinking designers and engineers are constantly creating new concepts for what they envision will be our forms of transport in the future. By land, sea or air, their imaginative designs offer us a glimpse of how we might travel in the decades to come.
A particularly groundbreaking concept for city roads is the Autonomo. Created by design student Charles Rattray, the small Autonomos would be able to drive two abreast in a single lane, utilising sensors to communicate with each other and move in tandem. Devised to reduce congestion, the Autonomo concept isn’t as outlandish as it may first appear.
Road train technology has already been demonstrated in which self driving cars work in unison to drive without collisions. Perhaps we are nearing an age in which safe driving will be taken out of the hands of human drivers and made the responsibility of robotically enhanced autonomous vehicles?
Non-stop High Speed Trains
The British rail network is much maligned for its appalling delays. If British designer Paul Priestman’s concept of non-stop high-speed trains is realised this may be a thing of the past. Priestman’s idea is to dispense with conventional platform stops for trains and to use ‘feeder’ trams, travelling platforms, which run parallel to travelling trains enabling passengers to switch trains or pass on to dedicated trams that stop at specific platforms.
It would take some getting used to, but the novel idea would drastically reduce travel times by removing the need for trains to make constant time consuming platform stops. While the costs involved may be a permanent obstacle, it doesn’t hurt to let our imaginations run wild.
Cities on the Sea
Cruise ships are an extremely popular form of travel, enabling passengers to relax onboard and savour a range of facilities as they traverse the oceans. But what will the cruise ships of the future look like? Designers in the Dutch firm NL Architects envisage giant combinations of cruise ships and aircraft carriers, effectively cities on the sea.
Will we be holidaying on a Disneyland cruise ship in the near future? The idea of themed cruise ships, where the ship itself is the holiday destination, is exciting and certainly within the realm of possibility.
The Concept Cabin
For those who prefer travelling by air, Airbus recently have unveiled concept designs for their vision of what passenger planes will look like in 2050. Simple called the Concept Cabin, the passenger plane incorporates conventional cabin areas with passenger experience areas where flyers can play a few rounds of virtual golf or relax in a ‘vitalising seat’ while they watch the world beneath them through a glass bottom.
Perhaps the most breathtaking feature is the plane’s actual body design. Based on the structure of bird bone, which provides optimal strength, the giant open windows give a huge panoramic view of the sky and Earth beneath. If this is the future of passenger planes we have a lot to look forward to. Just don’t expect the innovative designs to be implemented within easyJet fleets!
If NASA aerospace engineer Mark Moore has his way, we won’t need to use passenger planes if we want to enjoy the thrills of flight. He has designed a personal aircraft named the Puffin which launches using helicopter propellers, before hovering and then tipping forward to fly to a destination within its 50 mile range.
Extremely small and weighing only 136kg, the Puffin would have a top speed of 150mph and would be incredibly eco-friendly as it uses battery power, releasing no emissions. It is hoped that test runs will be carried out by the National Institute of Aerospace in the not too distant future. Will we be hovering at McDonalds Fly-Thru windows within the next decade? The mind truly boggles at what designers and engineers will think up next!
Look to the future of transport, look to Netcars.