The Future of Transportation

Ask anyone you know in the transportation industry and they will all agree; transportation is changing. Every day new innovations and processes are created to spur the transportation revolution that is occurring in both consumer and commercial segments. What will transportation look like in the future and what do these changes mean?

Some may remember back to a 1966 Popular Mechanics article on "Cars In 2016," as predicted by Jeane Dixon, a widely publicized seer of the time. Miss Dixon predicted that "cars will flit back and forth on cushions of air, the wheels retracting upon starting. They will be fueled by some exotic new compound yet to be developed; gasoline as we know it will have gone the way of the buggy whip. A radar-like device will guard against cars being involved in accidents." Popular Mechanics actually felt that Miss Dixon was fairly safe in prediction as studies were already taking place into those very same technologies.

Well, flash forward to 2012, and it is doubtful that all of that will be true in the next four years, but some of Miss Dixon's predictions may not be so far off. Just recently Google has been awarded the first ever license for an autonomous car. The vehicle uses a laser range finder as well as radar, GPS, an inertial measurement unit, and other sensors to operate without running into everything. Even beyond the driverless-control that Google's modified Prius provides, many vehicles are now rolling off factory lines with blind-spot awareness technology that alerts drivers if a vehicle is beside them before they change lanes. Score one for Miss Dixon who predicted we would have a device to help avoid accidents.

What about this exotic new compound to replace gas? While Miss Dixon might have been a little off on that prediction commercial vehicle designers are working to reduce our dependence on oil-based fuels. Hybrid commercial vehicles already exist, utilizing batteries and electric motors to supplement the diesel engines in trucks; and engineers are looking for additional ways to utilize this technology.

One idea recently announced by Siemens, utilizes overhead electrified wires similar to those used by trolleys and commuter trains. Integrated in hybrid vehicles, this technology would allow commercial traffic to connect with these electric wires and use the power to charge batteries and run electric motors without using a drop of diesel fuel. Although we're not likely to see overhead electrified wires pop up over all of the world's streets, this technology is perfect for congested city streets, ports and cargo centers where heavy commercial traffic increases smog and air pollution.

The future of transportation is still being written, but what we do know, is that today's technology is just a glimpse at the potential revolution that is coming to the transportation industry.

This entry was posted on May 21st, 2012 by bobby and is filed under Recent News & Updates.