Friday, October 13, 2017

Future Transportation

[Original Image © Synthitect]


The next step in the advancement of transportation is to look beyond conventional methods of motion, and physics. What does this mean? It means moving beyond the wheel. Not reinventing it, but departing from it - entirely.  Easier said than done, yes; but advancements in physics & energy generating systems are offering new ways to think about how we travel from Point A to Point B.

Many of these technologies and engineering principles already exist. Some technologies have been employed in working prototypes at much smaller scales. For instance, advancements in magnetic hoverboards. These prototypes primarily utilize magnetic-type physics such as electromagnetism or quantum levitation, which is another term for the Meissner Effect (magnetic repulsion to a superconductor [commonly cooled by liquid nitrogen]). These same technologies and applied physics are used at much larger scales as well; for instance in Maglev Trains in Japan, South Korea, and China. The major issue preventing these technologies from entering an intermediate level of transportation, is cost. These project-types are only economically feasible at a city-to-city scale or a boutique Hoverboard scale. Eventually, we will cross a threshold, where the benefits of employing this technology at an intermediate scale will out-weigh the high cost.

Infrastructure & Benefits:
The high cost is the result of several factors; but primarily due to the infrastructure needed to host these levitating vehicles. This means, all new road ways - sort of. These transporting vehicles need embedded magnetic "guideways" to escort the chassis along its way. So, we lose the ability to wiggle side-to-side within our lanes... But we benefit from economy of space reduction, reduced friction resulting in energy savings, and more focused automation technologies resulting is less accidents, less traffic, and less time on the road.