What Will Future Transportation Be Like?
What will the future hold? Will we go to work in flying cars? Vacation on the moon? Snarf down meat grown in test tubes? Here are some expert predictions.
Many transportation innovations of the future already exist. The challenge is how to make these energy-saving vehicles work more efficiently so they can replace the fossil-fuel vehicles we ride in today. For instance, electric vehicles that run on batteries need to be improved so they can travel longer distances. Today, an electric car can run for about 100 miles before its battery has to be recharged.
Engineers are developing an electric two-wheeled vehicle called P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility). Running on a lithium battery, the small, space saving, 300-pound vehicle would ease city traffic jams.
Today, commuters in some big cities in China and Japan ride on high-speed maglev trains. (Maglev stands for magnetic levitation.) such a train doesn't need wheels. Instead, it uses magnets to raise—or levitate—the train inches above the track. Futurist—people who think about the future and how we will live—believe maglevs will replace traditional trains in U.S. and around the world.
A maglev can travel at speeds of more than 300 mph, offering smooth, quite rides.
Other solutions for future transportation exist only as ideas. Personal flying vehicles are an exciting possibility. A NASA engineer designed the Puffin, a one-person, electric, flying craft. Right now the Puffin is just a concept, but one day you may zip around in one.
To fly the Puffin, the pilot lies flat on his or her stomach. When not in use, the vehicle would rest on its tail.