The Future of Travel
While many still fantasize about conceptual flying cars and supersonic vehicles, there is also a strong focus on making the average traveler’s journey a more pleasing adventure from start to finish, no matter if their journey takes them to the office or half-way around the world. Therefore, if you’re a die-hard technology enthusiast, or even someone who loves to learn about the latest awesome electronic gadgets or scientific inventions, you’ll enjoy this list of futuristic vehicles that have been designed to be both innovative in design and function; vehicles that make the future of travel promising.
For the commute…
TREV (Two-Seater Renewable Energy Vehicle)
The University of Southern Australia (UniSA) is thinking beyond our current Peak Oil problem, and into a time when fossil fuels simply won't be enough to sustain our travel needs. The Trev (Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle) is a solar racing car capable of traveling highway speeds for up to 750 km/h (460 mph) every day using the power of sunlight. Designed specifically for the daily commute, this car makes none of the noise and pollution associated with traditional petroleum engine vehicles. Compliant with road safety regulations, even tires, brakes, and suspension in this 300 kg (661 lbs) vehicle are energy-efficient.
Moller International has developed the first and only practical, individually affordable, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle in the world. The Skycar can reach a maximum speed of 375 mph (600 km/h) and cruise comfortably at 275 mph (442 km/h), making your commute to the office just a bit faster. The Skycar features fuel-efficient engines, low noise emissions, and can accommodate up to four passengers. At roughly 700,000 dollars apiece, the Skycar is relatively affordable – compared to the cost of owning a private jet or purchasing a Bentley.
Equipped with conventional engines that are powered by environmentally friendly sun and wind energy, SolarSailor green ferries offer passengers a mode of hybrid marine power travel. This allows for exceptional fuel savings, passenger comfort, and reduced environmental emissions, which means a strong return on investment. The hybrid system is optimized and controlled by an onboard computer, in the same way as today's hybrid car. Quick and easy acceleration, handling, and emergency stopping without stalling, ensures SolarSailor motors are highly reliable and have backups and redundancies to prevent all-out failure in the series. Furthermore, fuel and maintenance costs are dramatically lower than the traditional urban ferry, as is downtime.
For personal mobility once you arrive…
Look out Segway, there's a new personal mobility device making its way into the market! The Toyota i-REAL (based on previous Toyota concepts, such as the i-Swing, i-Unit, and PM) has three wheels - one at the back and two at the front. It is equipped with a low-speed mode and high-speed mode to get you where you are going in good time, without breaking a sweat. The low-speed mode naturally shortens the i-REAL's wheelbase so that maneuvering among pedestrians and other obstacles is easy, and does not take up much space, keeping you at eyesight height. The high-speed mode lengthens the wheelbase for greater stability, better driving performance, and a lower center of gravity.
When you're ready for that vacation…
One day soon we may be able to “vacation” without even disembarking the aircraft. The Aeroscraft is a futuristic project that fuses both airplane and hotel to create a massive flying hotel! The flying hotel, with an area equal to two football fields, will be powered by helium, travel at a speed of 174 mph (281 km/h), up to 6,000 miles (9656 km), and soar 8,000 feet (2438 m) high in the air. In essence, the Aeroscraft is a massive 400-ton blimp designed to transport up to 250 passengers in luxurious style. With casinos, retail shops, and entertainment on board, it is much like an extravagant cruise ship vacation, except instead of sailing on the sea, you sail through the sky.
The Manned Cloud
Ever dream of floating on a cloud? How about dreaming of vacationing there? If so, you’re dreams may be close to coming true! The Manned Cloud is a floating, whale-shaped hotel, proposed by French designer, Jean-Marie Massaud, and developed through the French national aerospace research organization ONERA. The Manned Cloud will be able to accommodate up to 40 guests and 15 staff members for a three-day voyage, traveling at about 170 km/h (105 mph). In this floating hotel, passengers can travel to even the most exotic places without a trace, experiencing a whole new type of spectacular travel. Passengers can enjoy a restaurant, lounge, library, and fitness center on the first floor, while the second floor features their guest rooms, a spa, terraces, and a bar
Himiko Water Bus
Already completed and running, the Himiko Water Bus was designed and created by Leiji Matsumoto - a famous Japanese cartoonist. The Himiko's current route takes passengers from Asakusa to Odaiba Seaside Park, to Toyosu, before returning to Asakusa once more. The Himiko is unique due to its 3D windows that have a flattened, streamlined teardrop shape, which provide a 360-degree panoramic view. The water bus can carry 171 passengers and travels at a speed of 12 knots. Traveling from point A to point B has never before allowed for such luxury, sophistication, and beauty.
If you prefer to take your vacations on land, instead of in the air or on the sea, the future has an option for you, too. The Verdier is a solar powered "hippy van" offering green caravanning with sun tracker solar panels that allow for optimal solar energy using an onboard GPS system. When stopped, the van-like vehicle converts into a self-sufficient home that allows for indoor and outdoor cooking, as well as a canopy and small exterior dining area. The passenger seat becomes stairs to the raised upper area, which contains a compact bedroom with windows on every side, allowing traveler’s to enjoy a beautiful sunset or wake to the sunrise.
For the truly adventurous who want an out-of-this-world vacation, Virgin Galactic offers the world's first spaceline. Now, non-professional astronauts will be able to leave the Earth on one of Virgin's privately owned and operated spaceships based on SpaceShipOne's design. Virgin guarantees the height of luxury and cutting-edge design for a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Based in Mojave, California, even the most experienced traveler will be awed by this sub-orbital touristic encounter.
Coming home to the future…
Residential Cruise Line Ltd. intends to construct the most luxurious residential cruise ship ever developed, the Magellan. Although not the first condo cruise ship in the world, it will be the largest of its kind. The Magellan will be a massive 860 foot-long by 106 foot-wide ship with a crew of 500 people serving 15 decks. The ship will include several luxurious amenities, such as two executive helicopters (for the 24/7 all-weather heliport), signature restaurants, a 430-seat Broadway style theatre, indoor tennis courts and golf simulators, onboard marina, and observatory. The ship will be home to 1,100 residents, who can either lease or own their residences, and will sail around the world every two years.
When you need a vacation without leaving home…
Technology is leaping forward and vacations have not been overlooked. In today’s fast-paced world, we can’t always make time for a full vacation. Furthermore, it’s not always safe or financially possible to visit some of the best heritage sites around the world. Sites like WHTour and Second Life are recreating places around the world on a virtual level. WHTour is concentrating specifically on UNESCO heritage sites, using 3D photography, in the hopes to preserve what we have today so that they can be viewed at their best, in 3D, for an experience as close to actually being there as possible. Similarly Second Life is a community that allows users to recreate virtual destinations from around the world. Though this technology will never completely replace actual travel, it will increasing allow greater access to the planet even when we can’t go any farther than our living rooms.
No matter what your interests or tastes may be, the future’s inventions for travel is bound to provide you with style, innovation, environmental friendliness, luxury, and experiences like you’ve never seen before.