Technological Innovations in Transportation

People all over have seen movies that try to depict what the future of technology looks like. Flying cars are almost always a factor; invisible jets and speedy racing bikes powered up in less than a second are some other examples. But what does the future really have in store in terms of transportation? While it might not include invisibility, these two companies and innovators are working to bring the future of technology to the present. 

The first company, uSky, is based in the United Arab Emirates. Founded by Anatoli Unistky, they’re developing driverless high-speed pods that run around cities from a suspended track that can carry up to four passengers. The company’s goal is to solve the problem of traffic congestion. Their motive is to free up roads and space on the ground to make room for walkways, public spaces, parks, etc. The pods have a futuristic exterior design with a white finish. Inside, the pods are decorated like a first-class airline suite. It includes a pair of padded armchairs and two foldable chairs, mood lights, floor-to-ceiling windows, and lounge music. A full city-wide network could support 10,000 passengers per hour and can travel up to 93 miles per hour. This system is also cheaper and more environmentally friendly to build. The cost of one kilometer of subway costs $150 million, while the uSky pods cost around $10 million. It uses less structural emissions, so its carbon emissions are reduced. The pods are currently being tested in Dubai, and the test track is 400 meters, according to CNN, and might be in use in the year 2024.

The second company, Virgin Hyperloop, has built a prototype that stretches across 500 yards in a Nevada desert and recently completed its first test with real passengers. The basic idea is to send passengers or cargo pods through tubes that connect city to city and will make transportation faster. The concept, which has spent years in development, builds on an idea announced by Elon Musk in 2013. It starts with a near-vacuum environment that allows high speeds and low power consumption by getting rid of aerodynamic drag. Inside those tubes, the company claims their battery-powered pods can reach up to speeds of 670 miles per hour.  Like the advanced high-speed rail projects in Japan and Germany, this is possible by using magnetic levitation, which works by using magnets to lift a train above rails, reducing friction and increasing possible speeds using magnetic levitation. Their proprietary levitation engines make the hyperloop eight times more efficient than the world’s fastest maglev train. And unlike trains, the pods aren’t connected, so each one can have a different destination. Virgin Hyperloop believes that its system will be certified in 2025 or 2026.