From the times of using maps to the interactive smartphone applications, the travel industry has been changing the way people explore the world. Not far from today, in 2007, a cutting edge technology was developed known as Manilla folder. One cannot leave home without taking the Manilla folder. The folder used to contain the tickets of travel bookings and reservations. This technology was developed in the emerging internet era, and was popular those days. However, after 10 years later, the internet has made the biggest change, because it is now utilized in every single part of the travel experience, especially in the vehicles people travel.
Travel has changed massively, and the vehicles in which people travel too, has been modified. These changes involve the impossible innovations which were once mentioned in the sci-fi fantasy movies.
This article covers these seemingly impossible future breakthrough technologies in mobility, which are bound to influence the future of the travel industry.
Imagine traveling non-stop at up to 670 miles per hour above the land or underground. It sounds impossible, but it is coming to reality in the form of Project Hyperloop. Came from the Elon Musk’s idea of moving vehicles at high speeds through low-pressure tubes, the Project Hyperloop can cut the travel time between New York to London to 3 hours as compared with the 6 hours of a conventional airplane traveling. Hyperloop, a new motor transportation has been developed by Hyperloop One.
The Hyperloop system consists of an electric motor which is separated into two components, the rotor, and a stator. The rotor rotates on a stationary electromagnetic stator. When an electric current passes through the stator, the rotor magnetically gets attracted towards the spin. Unlike a normal electric motor, the Hyperloop One motor is not circular, it is linear, and the rotor is on the pod which is propelled magnetically as it moves on the stator. The magnetic levitation technology helps to guide and lift the pod off the track. Almost all the air from Hyperloop One tube is removed using a series of vacuum pumps, making the inside pressure such that the Hyperloop quietly flies at a height of 20,000 feet above the sea level. This cost and energy efficient system will be automated by the most advanced systems in the world, allowing a safe and super-fast journey that’s never delayed.
For many years, space agencies have been imagining about traveling to Mars, and Orion, a new NASA spacecraft for astronauts will make the NASA’s journey to Mars or to an asteroid possible. The Orion spacecraft will go further into space like people have never traveled before. It will carry astronauts into deep space and then return them home to earth. The recently tested heat shield will keep the astronauts safe, while re-entering earth’s atmosphere at a very high speed with extreme temperatures. NASA’s new giant rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) will carry Orion. In Exploration Mission-1, with SLS, Orion will go through a test without any crew on board for about 25 days. After the successful attempt, it will soon launch Exploration Mission-2 to transport humans to the Mars for the first time in the history.
Equipped with 360-degree cameras, lasers, and radars, the self-driving cars can see everything on the road and beyond. No matter what the environment, these vehicles never get distracted. Unlike the human beings, they don’t text, multitask or fall asleep during the journey. The attachments equipped on these cars scan the environment, but before the cars roam on the roads, they are configured by trained vehicle operators. The vehicle operator tests the cars with unexpected obstacles such as swinging car doors, pedestrians, and street signs. Once the journey is completed, a team of mapmakers verifies the streets, tracks, lane line, roadsides and traffic light in the vehicle’s path. According to the new data, the car’s software gets upgraded, which leads to a better accuracy of the vehicle on every inch of the road.
One of the biggest problems that are globally impacting the quality of life and economic development is traffic. As life is moving faster, people are moving slower and slower, for the traffic is just getting worst day-by-day. The problem is not the driver rather it’s the increasing number of vehicles and shrinking spaces. skyTran is the solution over this issue. skyTran is a pollution free, personal, and elevated rapid monorail-style transportation, which works on magnetic levitation technology. One can travel at a speed up to 155 mph in skyTran. It’s the unique transportation system with a predictive artificial intelligence, which knows when the passenger will need a ride. With its speed and capacity, skyTran can bring an end to traffic. Imagine, with no cars or vehicles on the road, people can transform these streets into nature parks, cafes and markets.
Transit Elevated Bus
Another biggest solution for traffic has been developed in China and is popularly known as Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), which is currently in a testing phase. The prototype of TEB is 22-meters long, 7.8-meters wide and 4.8 meters tall. The actual model will have the capacity to transport 1200 to 1400 passengers, and it will allow cars to drive underneath the hollow part of it, as it is shaped like an overpass. The TEB could replace up to 40 conventional buses, and this could save 860 tonnes of fuel and avoid 2,640 tonnes of carbon emissions each year with the huge traffic reduction. The TEB system uses a hub-mounted motor for propulsion. There is an indicator system, under monitoring, under-part indicator, and an emergency brake system to avoid accidents. A large-text display in the center of the bus allows it to communicate with the traffic behind it.
Lockheed Martin, a global aerospace company, and NASA are working together to bring a supersonic plane without the sonic boom. The sonic boom is created when an object surpasses the speed of sound, 340.29m/s. The X-plane, officially known as X-59 will reach speeds of 940 mph, and fly at an altitude of 55,000 ft. with the sound as low as closing a car door. NASA has awarded Lockheed $247.5 million to build the X-plane. NASA aims to lift the ban on using supersonic planes from flying over land by testing this quite, high-speed plane in 2021. If the project succeeds, then the people can travel across the world at supersonic speeds.
The world’s largest aircraft, Airlander 10 combines the best characteristics of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, which is a hybrid aircraft filled with 30,000 cubic meters of helium. It implements the Archimedes principle to get a 60% of its total thrust and the remaining 40% of the shift was obtained from the aerodynamic shape. There is no internal structure in the Airlander 10 because it maintains its shape due to the pressure stabilization of the helium inside the hull. Carbon composites are used throughout the aircraft to make it lightweight and strong. With the luggage carrying capacity up to 10 tons, Airlander 10 can remain in the air up to 5 days, and it can land or take off from a multitude of surfaces including grass, soil or water. The impressive thing is that it doesn’t need an airport or infrastructure to land or take off. Airlander 10 can be used to deliver temporary communication services in disaster zones, aid during tsunamis or in other natural disasters. With such essential abilities, Airlander 10 can connect and contribute the world to a large extent.
The future world will be connected to a large extent with these extremely powerful mobility devices. Travel has a key role in the expansion of these technologies. It is all about movement, and the industry must consider how mobility plays in its core value. The reality of these future technologies is a positive existential threat to the conventional modes of travel. There are not only the large scale companies, but also start-ups who are presenting innovative and compact vehicles to develop the future mobility technologies. With the implementation of these technologies, the world is moving towards a cleaner, greener and a healthier future world.
By Mayur Shewale (Assistant Writer)