An Electric/Magnetic Car Highway That Runs Parallel to Current Roads

April 12 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2010   Rating: 2 Hot

Here’s a cool concept animation of a highway system that would incorporate lanes for electric/magnetic cars:

The company behind the mock-up is a Barcelona-based outfit called New and Better Opportunities for a World on the Move that seems to be developing some cool product visions.

Saturday Morning Cartoon: Paleo-Future of Transport by Disney

April 12 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

“Speed, safety and comfort will be the keynotes of tomorrow’s highways.”

The following Disney cartoon from 1958 explores the car, highway, and mass transit systems of tomorrow and their effects on urban development and everyday life.

Funny how despite the leaps and bounds predicted in the advancement of technology, none seem to have been predicted in terms of gender roles… but amusing nevertheless! :)

Car Catcher Nets May Help End Chases

April 08 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 2 Hot

All those live car chases we see on television may be coming to an end. A company called Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation that specializes in pop-up safety nets for all sorts of vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, UAV’s) has now developed a car catcher that can safely stop cars moving at speeds up to 50 mph. Check out the demonstration video:

I can easily see such devices built into LA highways, perhaps at narrow on- and off-ramps, or used sporadically at strategic locations all across the town. They would also work great as a non-lethal form of ambush in war zones – although shooting out or puncturing tires is probably a more effective way to go.

Combined with increasingly popular automobile kill switches that can remotely disconnect an engine from its fuel supply, devices like these nets have the potential to make the roads quite a bit safer, as well as to deter a good amount of auto theft.

Of course, one possible counter to that is to simply train robots to steal cars instead, or simply hack the car systems.

Mini Helicopter to Hit Market in 2009 or 2010

April 08 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

Check out this fully functional new co-axial helicopter set to go into production sometime in 2009 or 2010. The manufacturer, Wieland Helicopter Technologies, says it plans to build versions that seat 1-5 passengers as well as a UAV which I’m sure the U.S. government will load up with machine guns and send into battle.

Video Compilation of Futuristic Car Concepts

March 28 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 1

Here’s a short and sweet video of some futuristic car designs, many of which we can expect to see on the road, or in the air, in the next decade:

Click below the fold to see a longer 3-minute version of the same video with dozens more prototypes.

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Driverless cars everywhere by 2020, pilotless air-cars in skies by 2030

March 28 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: Beyond   Rating: 13 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

In the sci-fi movie Minority Report cars drive themselves while maneuvering through traffic on roads and in the sky. Though the film represents a more distant future, safe and affordable driverless cars could be on roads everywhere by 2020, and self-driving/flying air-cars by 2030.

Scientists are now developing next generation driverless cars that understand and react to the world around them. These “smart” vehicles have been tested in recent competitions sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Competing cars were not only driven entirely by computers, but they operated in a simulated city environment. Stanford University’s Dr. Sebastian Thrun explains the DARPA challenge; “Driverless cars successfully maneuvered through busy streets and intersections. They recognized other cars, and interacted safely when they met – all without human help.”

“Today’s driverless cars can go about 100 miles before human assistance becomes necessary,” Thrun says, “by 2010 this will increase to 1,000 miles, by 2020 a million miles; and by the 2030s, driverless cars will surpass human drivers in both safety and reliability.”

Driverless vehicles promise huge benefits. The Department of Transportation projects 500 million cars worldwide by 2010 with unbearable congestion everywhere. Self-driving cars always maintain proper distances at maximum speeds; and this optimizes road capacity. By 2020, we’ll say goodbye to gridlock, road rage, and most traffic deaths.


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Air-Bag Motorcycle Suit in Action

March 26 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2010   Rating: 3

Check out this awesome new airbag-suit by motorcycle gear designer Dainese:

Dainese is set to release the suit by 2010 – a full 10 years after development of the system began.

Just imagine the implications of such a suit for all types of extreme sports – skiing, mountain-biking, hang-gliding – and what such a suit might look like by 2015. I can imagine people surrounded by giant marshmallows or beach balls engaging in all sorts of activities that were previously too risky.

NYC's Mayor Bloomberg Touts Benefits of Automotive XPrize Competition

March 25 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2008   Rating: 2

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who last week proudly announced that his city has agreed to host the first leg of the 2009 competition, is a big fan of the impact the event could have on the way we approach the future.

“We really do need some new thinking, we need some innovation,” urged Bloomberg, “We’ve got to get people to participate, and to change their lives and to understand that we’ve have to use less energy and that we have to find alternative energy sources that aren’t destroying our planet.”

Check out Bloomberg and XPrize CEO Peter Diamandis in action at Thursday’s XPrize Announcement press conference, just released to the web a few hours ago:

“I don’t think there’s any bigger threat to our world and out country than global warming and our dependency on oil,” added the philanthropist-business-magnate-turned-mayor.

Peter Diamandis, Chairman & CEO, XPrize Foundation, echoed Bloomberg’s sentiments, stating, “It’s a challenge to every one of us. We face these issues together. We must solve them together.”

Most interesting, as Jump the Curve author Jack Uldrich points out, was the ambitious project scope that Diamandis laid out:

“We’re not talking about concept cars,” says the XPrize CEO, “We’re talking about real cars that can be brought to market in the near-term, that consumers will want to buy.”


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WiFi Aboard Chrysler Cars Later This Year

March 24 2008 / by memebox / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2008   Rating: 9

Bloomberg reports that beleaguered auto manufacturer Chrysler LLC will begin offering wifi aboard their vehicles later this year. As the first major auto producer to provide internet access, this will give the company a big brand and gadgetry edge, though its vehicles will no doubt continue to lag in mileage and quality construction.

The feature will be added to existing vehicles by dealers beginning this year and later be installed on the assembly line, Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President—Product Development, said. The Wi-Fi port, initially to be sold as a separate device, will eventually be built into the vehicle’s radio system and coordinated with other audio and video technologies to allow such things as transferring music files from the user’s home computer.

Users will need a subscription to a wireless carrier in order to connect to the internet, which will likely limit access to areas within range of cell towers. Nevertheless, it marks a fresh start for a desperate company sorely in need of compelling consumer offerings, allowing a variety of applications, such as basic navigation systems and music downloads, and eventually a much broader suite of networked add-ons.

Somewhat surprisingly, it appears that the future of auto-web connectivity will first be championed by an American manufacturer.

Amazing Video of Car/Pod That Pivots on a Dime

March 20 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: 2008   Rating: 5

Check out this awesome car/pod prototype that carries up to three passengers and can pivot on a dime to change directions. I recall seeing concept drawings of this and thought it was still a year or two in the future, so I was surprised to come across this video of a functional, albeit slow, version of the product.

For the life of me, I can’t recall which company is behind this elegant weird new car. Does anyone know who’s producing this totally new approach to transport and when I’ll be able to rent one in NYC?

Michael E. Arth on the Future of Sustainable Cities

March 17 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future
Category: Transportation   Year: General   Rating: 7

As the human population grows, people are either forced to live further and further from the workplace, or to pay a handsome price for the luxury of location. The resulting sprawl has had a devastating effect on the landscape and eco-systems. Pollution associated with requisite transportation is destroying the environment. Rising energy costs are driving up the cost of living. Longer commutes lessen the hours in a day we can allocate to productivity or leisure.

How can we create cities and towns that can accommodate a community’s economic needs, while improving the general quality of life? This is a question that urban planners, like Michael E. Arth, must ask and answer to the best of their abilities when designing or retrofitting cities to best suit our changing lifestyles.

We spoke with Arth, founder of the urban planning theory of New Pedestrianism, about what the city of the future might look like. His theory, a spinoff of New Urbanism, addresses the social and environmental problems associated with suburban sprawl by creating an urban design plan that places sustainability, beauty, and functionality at its forefront.

“New Pedestrianism is an urban design movement that is a more ecological and pedestrian-oriented branch of New Urbanism. New Urbanism revives and expands upon the old urbanism that was common before WWII, while New Pedestrianism is a reiteration of experiments with more pedestrian-oriented towns and neighborhoods that have been tried over the years,” explained Arth, “In new and old urbanism you have streets in front and an alley in the rear. With New Pedestrianism the alley is replaced with an attractive tree lined street and the street in front is replaced with a car free pedestrian/bike lane. A mixed-use village or neighborhood center is within walking distance with higher density toward the center. Aesthetics and quality of life are very important.”

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In-Flight Internet Access Finally Taking Off

March 12 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future
Category: The Web   Year: 2008   Rating: 5

Tired of those boring, cramped 4-hour flights? Wish you could be more productive or at least distracted? You’ll be glad to know that the in-flight internet connections that have been hyped over the past year are finally on the verge of reality.

Several companies are locked in a race to be first to offer the service with airlines. In a matter of months, we’ll be able to surf the web from land or sky.

Panasonic Avionics is on the verge of penning a deal with a yet-to-be-disclosed airline to offer wireless service via satellite. Their rates are a bit steep at $5.95 per half-hour of access, but because they connect to satellites instead of towers on the ground, internet would be available during trips across the ocean.

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