The Transportation Sector is About to Take Off
Transport is Transforming
Bailey Thane Newcastle 03.06.19
Entrepreneurs Society, Newcastle University
Transport is transforming. The methods in which humans travel from A to B have evolved massively in recent times. The days of horse and cart are long gone, steam engines are artefacts in museums. Transportation today is a high-speed bullet train and petrol-powered car world. But is it set to change again?
The use of petrol in cars is becoming an ever-increasing problem due to its finite nature and climate change beginning to dominate the minds of top executives. This has caused companies to investigate alternatives and innovate within the transportation sector.
HyperLoop is a proposed future method of transportation, accommodating either passenger or cargo. The concept was released and made ‘open source’ by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX around 5 years ago. The system works by creating a vacuum sealed tube and then sending a pod through it, the pod can travel free of air resistance or friction meaning it can achieve very high speed efficiently. Currently, there are a variety of different companies looking to bring this system into the mainstream. Putting this into practice would revolutionise journey times, bringing cities closer together and making the world smaller.
Another company that is looking into innovative methods to avoid traffic is KittyHawk, who are developing personal drones that can carry humans through the air, with their two models; the Cora and the Flyer. Their aim is to make everyday flight possible and eliminate the problem of traffic via personal flight. An advantage to Cora is its ability to take off and land like a helicopter, therefore having the potential to turn any area of land into a space to take-off from.
Both HyperLoop and KittyHawk both have a long way to go until they are our go-to method of transport, but there is great progress being made. If regulation allows, then we could see a rollout of such transportations in the next couple of decades – which is very exciting.
Aside from the future innovations there are vehicles that are available to purchase now. The most notable is Elon Musk’s Tesla, looking at how we can bring electric vehicles to the mass market. Tesla’s autonomous self-driving capabilities are available on models available for purchase. Musk has already had great success with Tesla and production output was 101,312 vehicles in 2017. Tesla is set to see great growth over the next few years, especially out of the USA as it spreads into international markets, reaching new consumers.
The sector is developing rapidly, and new innovations are appearing from around the globe. The Future of Transport Conference 2018, held in Germany, saw 200+ speakers from a variety of top companies around the world gathered to discuss the industry. An interesting highlight from the conference was the proposition to transform the UK’s outdated HS2 rail network into an autonomous car and truck superhighway – the proposition also stated that this would be at a fraction of the railway cost.
This then begs the question that, since the transport industry is developing so rapidly, is it worth investing in the latest networks and systems? With implementation periods having long lead times it is not possible to build the networks to keep up with the innovation. Is this what will hold the industry back? Will long term innovation be affected by the time it takes to implement the latest technology? Only time will tell.
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