We’re heading abruptly into the twenty-second century, and self-driving vehicles, flying cars, and underwater tunnels—ideas once the imaginings of science fiction—are looming ahead. Below, we’ve outlined five upcoming technologies that may be closer than you think.
We’ve all seen the news, but self-driving cars have already become a reality. Of course, they are not quite perfect. In 2016, the first fatality occurred in an autonomous vehicle, and there have been reports of a slew of low-speed accidents in states where these cars are on the roads. Almost every collision has been the result of other (human) drivers.
They can’t time travel, but flying cars have arrived. In February of 2018, the first flying car that is available for purchase was released. Deemed the PAL-V Liberty, the strange hybrid comes with its own quirks, one of which is a Transformers-like change from a three-wheel vehicle into a miniature helicopter. See the photos for yourself. Unfortunately, it’s currently priced at a whopping $598000!
Supersonic Passenger Planes
You know those long, twelve-hour trips that make you bleary eyed and dizzy by the time you land? Yeah. Kiss them goodbye. Japan Airlines recently invested ten million dollars into the supersonic passenger plane technology known as Boom Technology, following Virgin Group’s lead. The foundations for supersonic planes have existed since 1947, with the successful flight of the Bell X-1. However, the technology never advanced far enough for passenger use . . . until now. Japan Airlines estimates the first flights will occur next year.
Speaking of supersonic. Submarine cruises and underwater resorts have gained popularity, but some companies are beginning to look beneath the waves for viable travel routes. Chinese scientists have been working on plans for a supersonic submarine, and the US Navy recently applied supercavitation technology to this idea, as well. Supercavitation technology emits a bubble around a submarine, potentially allowing it to reach the speed of sound underwater.
Maglev trains have quickly become some of the most-used technology in Europe, with the trains gaining 90 percent of London-Paris routes over aircrafts. But these trains, which utilize magnetic levitation, will become technological dinosaurs in the face of Hyperloops. The concept is simple: passengers soar through tubes at about 700 miles per hour, a speed that is more than comparable to Maglev’s 310 mile-per-hour rides. You may be seeing these sooner than you think: Arrivo recently received permission from Colorado to plan a Hyperloop network in Denver.
Of course, all this new technology will require changes. “In terms of insurance, liability, regulations . . . these things will have to be adapted,” says Jason Hennessey, marketing consultant for Los Angeles DUI Attorney. “After all, if everyone has an autonomous car and there is a collision, who’s at fault?”
There you have it: the rise of transportation as we progress into the next century has just begun. You’d better buckle up.