Transportation, defined as “the movement of people or goods from one place to another” by Cambridge dictionary, has evolved with the time, just like every other aspect in life. Right now, the world is so ahead in technology that advancements are being developed every day. What comes ahead concerning transportation are solutions for most of the problems the world has right now, cities’ street congestion, environmental pollution, transportation method dilemma, etc. When it comes to technology, everything is about time. Scientists and engineers have speculated that the time that it will take to have a perfect product for public display. Based on research by scientists, five years from now cities will begin to shift towards networks of driverless taxis. Ten years from now almost everyone will use public transportation, with alternative fuel such as maglev technology, short for magnetic levitation, which has the advantage of having no friction having the capability of traveling 600 mph. Fifteen years from now all vehicles in the streets will be fuel eco-efficient, autonomous or at least have intelligent transport systems. Thirty years from now UAM (Urban Air Mobility) will begin to be a common method of transportation. By achieving all these developments, the world will get to be a more utopian and less stressful place. All these advancements will reduce global warming by using alternative fuels, make main cities a more habitable place and industries such as medicine and essentials will have priority making everything to function better. The future of transportation is all based on solving problems and making the world a better place.
One advancement that is essential for the world to become a livable place is the automatization of transportation. This is beneficial in every way possible. Envision being able to transport people around answering emails or even playing a game of cards without even having to worry about hitting the brake or avoiding the cars changing lanes. Autonomous vehicles will become one of the safest methods of transportation by eliminating human error. These vehicles will work with a series of sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras, all able to analyze and process information about their surroundings faster than any human can. The New York Times released an article with some more in-depth information about how autonomous vehicles will become a reality sooner than expected. Giant companies with decades of knowledge are trying to catch up too. Jim Hackett, Ford’s chief executive, said they were teaming up with Volkswagen “to tackle the self-driving challenge”. Volkswagen and Ford are planning to use “autonomous-vehicle technology from a start-up company, called Argo AI, in a taxi-like service in a few urban zones by 2021”. But it has been a strenuous task, having to stop each time an accident occurs. Mr. Salesky, Argo’s chief executive said: “Argo and many competitors had developed about 80% of the technology needed to put self-driving cars into routine use — the radar, cameras, and other sensors that can identify objects far down roads and highways. But the remaining 20%, including developing software that can reliably anticipate what other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are going to do, will be much more difficult” (New York Times).
However, Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, believes its new self-driving system, based on a newly designed computer chip, and the data it gathers from Tesla cars now on the road will enable the company to start offering completely autonomous driving next year. Besides, numerous amount of companies are interested in this technology and “deep-pocketed investors rushed to get a piece of the action. Honda and the tech giant SoftBank invested in Cruise an autonomous vehicle start-up company. Amazon, whose goal is to deliver products to its shoppers by driverless vehicles, invested in Aurora, another start-up in this area”. Nevertheless, the globalization of global positioning systems, sensors, and mobile communication technology has already benefited in terms of improved navigation and congestion mitigation. It wouldn’t be a surprise that companies such as Tesla or some start-ups funded by tech giants could push this technology a little further and bring the future closer.
One of the biggest factors of the future of transportation is finding a solution to the distressing problem of global warming. It is a problem concerning the entire world. It endangers people’s health, and it threatens other basic human needs. Right now, it is at a point where it can still be stopped. Mitigating the number of gasses that are being released into the atmosphere by beginning to use alternative fuels would be the smartest way to begin this change. The main cause of global warming is because human beings burn fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. According to NASA, carbon dioxide levels in the air are the highest they have been in 650,000 years. Global temperature has risen 1.9 degrees since 1880, Arctic ice has decreased 12.8% per decade and the sea levels are rising 3.3 millimeters per year. It is necessary to make a change before it is too late. And according to the Union of Concerned Scientists: “Our personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. Collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas. About five pounds comes from the extraction, production, and delivery of the fuel, while the great bulk of heat-trapping emissions—more than 19 pounds per gallon—comes right out of a car’s tailpipe” (UCSUSA).
Nowadays there are many alternatives, that will be used in the future to address these concerns about transportation adding to climate change. There are ways to reduce emission even without having the necessity to switch to other types of fuels. Ohio University ran a study that showed that “reducing the weight of the vehicle by as little as 10% can improve fuel economy by 6% or more”. The federal government estimates that if just “25% of cars used lighter-weight materials, the country would consume 5 billion fewer gallons of gas each year by 2030”. Other ways to reduce emissions are batteries and binary power or magnetic levitation. The friction-free, no-moving-parts vehicles are called ‘binary power’. Binary power is the concept where two otherwise harmless beams of energy will intersect at some point in space creating a source of power according to the Virgin Hyperloop one project. Numerous companies already have 100% electric cars running in the streets such as Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz with the Smarts. The future of transportation brings an eco-friendly era within. Global warming is such a big problem concerning so many people that alternative forms of fuel such as maglev technology, batteries and new materials for eco-efficiency are going to be on-demand if need any source of transportation.
There is an evident tendency for a larger percentage of the population to ride public transportation in more organized countries. The reason for this is that the infrastructure of this public transportation is made efficiently. Busy people prefer to ride in a subway at 60 mph without traffic lights, car accidents, or unexpected delays than using their own vehicles. Visualize a method of transportation that can go over 375 mph. This will become the main method of transportation for every country. This form of transportation will be achieved by maglev technology. Maglev, short for magnetic levitation, is a technology that counts with the advantage of having no friction, able to reach operational speeds of 500-600 km per hour, or even higher speeds if the train circulates in a low-pressure tube. Maglev is the first fundamental innovation since the railway train created in the industrial revolution. The floating magnet design creates a smooth and passive trip. Even though the train can reach speeds up to 375 miles per hour, the passengers will experience less turbulence than on a traditional train because there is no friction. Jesse Powell, the son of the Maglev inventor, explains maglev as “just a box with magnets on the four corners”. It’s a bit more complex than that, but the concept is simple. The magnets used for this method of transportation need to be superconducting, this means that they have to be cooled to less than 450 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, for them to be able to generate magnetic fields strong enough to carry a train. The magnetic fields interact with simple metallic loops built into the walls of the guideway. The loops are made out of conductive materials, such as aluminum, and when the magnets pass near it, it creates an electric current that generates another magnetic field. There are three types of loops set into the guideway employed to do three important tasks: the first one creates a field that makes the train hover; the second one keeps the train stable horizontally by pushing it into the opposite direction; the further it gets from the center of the guideway or the closer to the bottom, the more magnetic resistance pushes it back on track. And the third set of loops is the propulsion system that works by alternating current power. Both magnetic forces repulsion and attraction are used to move the train through the guideway. Imagine the box with one magnet on each corner. The front corners have magnets with north poles facing out, and the back corners have magnets with south poles outward. Electrifying the propulsion loops generates magnetic fields that both pull the train forward from the front and push it forward from behind. And this feature is what’s most exciting to Jesse Powell. “With Maglev, there is no driver. The vehicles have to move where the network sends them. That’s basic physics”. This transportation method is the solution for many problems for a society that tends to be proactive the capability of saving time traveling at hyperspeed and being able to play another task while on it it’s really important. It is also a completely eco-friendly solution not producing any emission and helping global warming.
A growing global economy requires a faster, cheaper, safer and more efficient form of transportation. The roads, airports, and ports are congested. And there hasn’t been a major new form of transport in 100 years. Hyperloop, it’s a concept proposed by Elon Musk’s company Space X. The concept has some resemblance to maglev transportation but is a totally different concept. The concept is a pneumatic tube that uses a series of linear induction motors and compressors to propel vehicles at super-fast speeds. The first proposed Hyperloop route would take the passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco, allowing them to complete a 350-mile trip in less than an hour. Hyperloop One’s team clarifies that there are four key differences between maglev transportation and hyperloop. The first difference is that it is almost three times faster than the fastest high-speed rail. The second one is that it’s on-demand and direct. The third one is that trains follow a schedule and typically have multiple stops while hyperloop doesn’t. And the fourth one and most unique is that hyperloop leaves when you’re ready to go, and pods can depart up to several times per minute and can transport passengers and cargo direct to their destination without any stop. It’s environmentally friendly, with a smaller environmental impact, more efficient energy consumption and no direct emissions or noise. Right now, there are many companies working on hyperloop and even more after the Pod competition Space X held but there is a pretty interesting concept brought up by Virgin. It is propelled using a linear electric motor, which is a straightened-out version of a conventional rotary motor. An ordinary electric motor has two main parts: a stator and a rotor. When voltage is applied to the stator it makes the rotor spin, for example, a spinning a power drill. A linear electric motor has the same two main parts, but instead, the rotor doesn’t rotate it moves in a straight line through the stator. Just like in the Virgin Hyperloop One system where the stators are mounted to the tube and the rotor is the pod, and it accelerates down the tube causing propulsion for the air from the front into the sides making it capable of hovering. Being a growing global economy that requires a faster, cheaper, safer and more efficient form of transportation. The concept of this new form of transportation will become the main source of mobility by 2050.
One outstanding issue that is present in the main cities all around the world is street congestion. Moving ten blocks in a car can take up to 50 minutes and that’s something irrational for people living in the twenty-first century. Since the last century, the world’s population has increased exponentially almost quadrupled. Urban infrastructures are struggling to adapt, having a negative effect on the persons. The environment and economies are having the need for a new method of transportation and that’s when UAM (Urban Air Mobility) takes place on. Roland Berger, a global strategy consulting firm, says that “Test flights for prototypes are already underway and the dream of flying taxis is expected to become a reality within a decade. Fleets of electric-powered aerial vehicles will carry people and goods through the cities in minutes rather than hours”. All around the world, companies from aerospace giants such as Boeing and Airbus to well-funded startups are working on the technology needed to create a new form of mobility. The European aerospace industry, Airbus, revealed its vision for taxi-like urban air travel in March of 2019, called the CityAirbus, which is being developed with input from Audi and Siemens and will begin flight testing this year. Airbus’ expectation is that the four batteries give autonomy for the vehicle to cruise at a speed of 120 km/h for a range of 30 kilometers. Honeywell an Aerospace Company had been working on new technologies that can be applied to UAM. They stand out creating generators, controllers and other important elements for the electric and hybrid-electric powertrain and just introduced the aerospace industry’s first 1 MW generator, with the same power density as our 200 kVA generator, they also pioneered collision avoidance and ground proximity warning technologies that dramatically improve flight safety. Now they are applying their expertise to detect-and-avoid technologies that will be critical for UAM operations. All these advancements prove that urban air mobility will become a reality and solution for problems such as main cities’ street congestion, global warming, and the transportation dilemma by living the streets as a priority route for other vehicles.
The main focus of the future of transportation is to make the world a better place. Transportation will bring solutions to a substantial amount of problems. One big problem transportation will solve is global warming, transportation is looking forward to changing oil-based fuels for other alternatives such as electricity or even carbon dioxide with the benefit of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere and regulating the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. Other solutions the future of transportation is bringing with it, is the solution for the city streets congestion making the major cities of the planet a less stressful and more livable place to live by bringing new forms of transportation such as UAM or maglev transportation. These new forms of transportation will also be new prioritized routes for industries such as medicine or essential solving the transportation dilemma which consists of having trouble with managing the priority for product shipping. By solving these problems, the world will become a more efficient, livable and better place.