How technology connects us to places.
Planes, trains and automobiles. Three forms of transportation that have changed the way people travel around the world every single day. But what does the future hold for transport as advances in technology make everyone rethink what is possible and the line between science fiction and science fact becomes increasingly blurred?
Changing the way we travel in cities
Technology has changed the daily commute in just the last 10 years. In the morning, those standing in line for a bus can now see the exact time it is going to arrive. While the old way of hailing a taxi has now taken a back seat thanks to mobile app based companies such as Uber that let travellers order their cab using a smartphone, track its arrival and then pay for their journey without the need for cash.
Technology is also making city journeys more efficient with it helping to facilitate car sharing so that there are fewer vehicles on the road. Bikes are also now available for hire in cities with their popularity growing. With just a click on an app, commuters can ride one of the thousands of rentable bikes across the globe, with one company alone reaching a total of 50 million rides in 4 years.
Cars that drive themselves are not as far off as some may think. For starters, Tesla cars already have an autopilot system that, although semi-independent, makes driving along motorways easier by keeping the car in the chosen lane and monitoring the traffic around it using a host of different sensors.
This is the beginning of self-drive vehicles; however, it is estimated that by 2021 they will become prevalent on roads around the world. The hard part is not developing the technology but getting car manufacturers to ensure different makes of car communicate with each other, as well as with cars being driven the old-fashioned way by a real person.
The future of flight
The plane manufacturer Airbus predicts that in the next 50 years, their planes are to change into something that would normally be associated with a science fiction movie.
Their planes of the future will allow passengers to enjoy massage seats that serve drinks and vitamins while also gently releasing a relaxing scent. More impressive will be the view on offer with planes having panoramic windows.
On a more environmentally friendly note, Airbus also predict that all their flights will be 13 minutes faster with the advantage that this would save millions of tonnes of fuel.
But what would really revolutionise air journeys is the use of space travel. By having the ability to fly in low orbital space, inter-continental flight times would be cut dramatically. For example, Virgin Galactic which is aiming to be the world’s commercial spaceline, can orbit the Earth for 2.5 hours. If this technology could be used in commercial aviation, passengers could travel from London to Sydney in 2.5 hours.
More personalised travel
Technology is also set to change the way people go on holidays. It is thought that computers will be able to analyse someone’s online searches and then make tailored suggestions using predictive software. Then, once a holiday destination has been booked, the actual journey is also set to be simplified using technology.
Check-in lines and desks will become a thing of the past. Instead, passengers will leave their bags at automated points in the airport. There will also be no need for passport control as face recognition will scan everyone automatically.
Steve Tooze, special projects at the Future Laboratory explains, ‘Biometric face recognition software and machine-readable passports – incorporating a digital boarding pass – will mean that clearing customs will take less than a minute, and high-speed laser molecular scanners will security check hand luggage in seconds as you walk past them toward the departure lounge without even breaking your stride.’
With technology advancing at such a speed it is safe to say that when it comes to transport, we are heading towards a bright future.
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