“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”
– Ray Bradbury
Fifty years ago if someone told us that future computers might fit in our hands and will be a million times more powerful, one day, we would have discarded it as insanity. Now we are making new technological leaps each day. One such transportation advancement is towards a future without drivers, yes! cars without drivers. The reality is transcending into science fiction, limits are only defined by our imagination. If we can dream it, someday we can make it happen. From Augmented reality to the colonization of Mars, we are transforming every aspect of our life.
Flying above the earth’s atmosphere
So, how will transportation look like in this city of the future? We must first look towards Elon Musk’s Space X reusable rocket concept. He asked the question, how much will it cost if aeroplanes were only good for one go? The answer to that was 250 million dollars! Since we can reuse them thousands of times, the cost comes down exponentially and they become affordable. Space X’s reusable starship rocket fully automatic might be able to take people and cargo at supersonic speeds above the earth’s atmosphere.
Cyber Trucks of the future
Another efficient way of transportation of cargo will come in the form of self-driving electric trucks. These trucks will be able to make deliveries reliably at less cost, their eco-friendly design will reduce 25% of greenhouse emissions that come from the trucking industry. Tesla was the first to enter the race and deliver results with its futuristic cyber truck. Daimler also partnered up with Waymo to bolster self-driving truck production.
Ideally, for transportation, we want an alternate that’s less costly than current options, certainly faster, and immune to crash hazards and weather. Enter Hyperloop. A pod enclosed in a vacuum tube that has the potential to cruise at an astonishingly high speed of 1200km/h without air resistance and friction.
This technology will be cheaper than planes and more accessible. These pods will also be fully AI-controlled and will have the capacity to transport 40 people per pod initially. It is speculated that the hyperloop system will be solar-powered and supplemented by wind energy. This Idea was also the brainchild of Elon musk but Richard Branson of virgin hyperloop made history by successfully conducting the first passenger test of their hyperloop one.
The moment will come when it will be unusual for cars to not be truly self-driving and automatic. From the first self-driving Tesla to ultra-futuristic Mercedes Vision AVTR we see the car industry merging with the entertainment industry and a very unique product coming out as a result. Manufacturers now want cars to be a part of the ecosystem and behave like a living organism, not be dissimilar to their environment.
The New Vision AVTR embodies this concept very efficiently. It is fully sustainable, recyclable, and environment friendly. the design is something straight out of a Space sci-fi movie.
Inside you see no traditional steering wheel but a pulsating membrane style control pad that feels like it is communicating with the driver. Breathing in and out to make the controlling experience minimalistic and surreal. The car can even move sideways as it uses non-traditional wheels. The future of luxurious cars is the reduction of a traditional machine approach. We will see cars that interact with the human host like a living organism, involving all of our senses. The driver could just sit back and enjoy the absolutely beautiful interior while the car takes over the driving part.
Taxi-Service without a driver
Major car companies will become luxury brands as the sustainability of driverless cars increases. Even now we are seeing 100-200% safety-rated self-driving cars and in the future, there will be a fleet of them. On-demand taxi service without a driver, and billions of them, this reality will render owning a personal car unnecessary.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Google has been working tirelessly to make this a reality. They have successfully launched the taxi service in some controlled suburban areas. These fully driverless cars are perfectly safe and work without problems. When such services go mainstream, owning a personal car will only be for a luxury experience.
Hurdles in the path
The future cannot be ideal until we cannot go fully renewable and environment friendly. Elon Musk estimates that it would take 100 Giga factories and there are currently 3. Giga factories produce lithium-ion batteries that will be necessary for electric vehicles and the apparatus of the future.
Truly electrified cities would demand better connectivity and super high internet speeds, much more than what the current 5g aims to provide. Elon Musk plans to solve this problem by creating a network of satellites around the world. This would mean, availability of blazing-fast internet unlike the world has ever seen in even the most remote and isolated areas of our planet. Up to this date, space X has already launched 720 Starlink satellites in the orbit and plans to launch 12,000 more to make Starlink a reality. Elon musk dubbed his communication system as ‘humanity acquiring a nervous system.’
The future will not come cheap, as these projects are highly ambitious and will require trillions and trillions of dollars. We would need to improve our economic systems and increase the financial power of every individual on this planet. To achieve this, we might only have to look up. Space mining is a real alternative to mining on earth. Mining here destroys the precious earth landscape, contributes to pollution, and harms the rare biodiversity and locals. As space travel becomes more feasible, economists are looking towards asteroids that contain trillions worth of resources in an unlimited capacity. Asteroids like Psyche 16 have enough iron and nickel to supply earth’s metal needs for millions of years.
The world might still be a few decades away from this reality but we are getting there at our own pace. Billions of ingenious minds are working day and night to put all this within our grasp. The time will come when humans will look towards the far beyond of space and become an intergalactic species.