When it comes to the future of road transport, technology is moving quickly and ways of getting around that once looked like something from a sci-fi movie, are fast becoming a reality. Here are 6 futuristic transport modes that are set to change the way we travel.
The concept of hyperloop, which involves travelling in capsules that whizz through tubes at high speed, was first mooted by Elon Musk in 2012 when engineers from Tesla and SpaceX started work on a prototype. He decided to invite others to contribute to the concept and Virgin boss Richard Branson built a prototype in 2017, which is predicted to become fully working within the next few years. Unlike trains or buses, capsules will depart every few minutes, which means that waiting times are set to become a thing of the past.
The floating board first appeared in the film Back To The Future and since then, boards that manoeuvre effortlessly on two wheels, have become a sensation. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, hoverboards are a green, fun way to travel.
Much has already been written about self-driving cars, but autonomous aircraft are also set to play a major role in transportation. The firm Airbus, has already completed a flight of its eVTOL aircraft and there are many companies currently developing drone taxis. Drones are one of the future ways of transportation send to boom in coming years.
A Japanese train that levitates above the rails (called a maglev train) has already reached speeds for more than 600 km/h and the Chinese are currently looking at developing a train that can reach speeds of up to 1000 km/h.
Smart roads communicate with smart cars, letting the driver know of hazards or bad road conditions ahead. A scheme in Portugal is set to build 1,000 km of smart roads where wireless communication takes place between infrastructure on the roads and smart cars. Sweden also has a stake in future of intelligent transportation systems. The Swedes have built a 2km long road the recharges electric cars and trucks as they go along and in the future, wireless battery charges will be located beneath roads, helping to reduce air pollution and ruling out the need for petrol.
Elevated cycle paths
Here in the UK, the Government is keen to promote cycling as a greener way to travel and cycle lanes have appeared in towns and cities across the country. However, as they were never a consideration when town planners first got to work, the result is narrower roads, potential hazards for pedestrians and a lot more road rage. A network of cycle paths that run above a town or city, would ease congestion and if made of an enclosed, elevated tube, it would mean cyclists could pedal all year round without having to endure inclement weather. This concept already exists as in Xiamen, China, there is a 7.6km cycle track that runs 17 feet above the road. BMW has announced that the company wants to build elevated cycle paths for e-bikes and e-scooters in Shanghai.