Around the world, scientists and designers are coming together to create greener modes of transport. Here are a handful of those already in development that bring The Jetsons’ lifestyle that bit closer to our world.
Airbus Pop.Up - for driving (& flying) in cities
At the 87th Geneva International Motor Show in 2017, Italdesign and Airbus world-premiered their joint venture, Pop.Up, the first fully electric, zero emission vehicle system which is multi-modular (meaning it can both drive and fly) and designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded cities.
This futuristic looking urban transport system will operate with small two-seater carbon-fibre capsules that look a bit like a smart car and have vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology. When it’s time to lift off, a propellor attaches to the roof and lifts the capsule off the ground, leaving the chassis and wheels behind. Rather than being a personal run around, these will have specific routes, to airports and the like, and be bookable via an app.
Sea Bubbles - for travel by waterway
Devised by Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal and French yachtsman Alain Thébault, this form of water transport sets out to be eco-friendly, fun and safe and is built with biodegradable material. Making use of the existing waterways around cities like New York and London, it will be powered by a battery-driven propulsion system (like a hydro foil) which creates zero carbon emissions. These dinky over-water crafts will be produced in the location where they will be used, bringing benefit to human lives as well as lowering the impact of transport on the environment.
SpaceX - travelling to Mars to save ourselves
Had enough of the Med? If plans in progress come to fruition for SpaceX, then Mars could be a future destination for the adventurous. The concept is to use an Interplanetary Transport System to carry at least 100 people at a time to the red planet in a spaceship powered by the most powerful rocket ever built. More than a joy ride, CEO Elon Musk, who is the founder of electric car company Tesla Motors and chair of a solar energy designer/installer called SolarCity, sees this as a way to sustainably advance the human race. ‘The objective is to become a space-faring civilization and a multi planetary species,’ he calmly said, adding that doing so will ‘make humanity far less susceptible to extinction.’
Jetpacks - not just for James Bond
The Martin Jetpack, made in New Zealand, was initially designed as the ultimate boy toy (think Sean Connery as 007 taking off with his rocket pack) and their a Personal Jetpack is planned for launch in around 2030. In addition, they are developing a specialist OPHAV (Optionally Piloted Hovering Air Vehicle) to become ‘part of the global crusade to save and improve human lives’. This version of the Jetpack, which can be flown manned or unmanned, is one of the safest and most practical versions of this kind of product on the market and will be able to assist in the air response work done by the Police, Fire, Search and Rescue and Disaster Response services.
The MotoBot - the self driving motorcycle
Heard about self-driving cars? Yamaha is taking a different approach to ‘autonomous driving technology’ (vehicles without a driver, to you and I) with their ‘autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid’ called MotoBot, which is essentially a robot that can motor bike.
The green credentials of autonomous vehicles include energy-optimizing controls to restrict the wasteful braking and accelerating humans drivers often indulge in, and GPS plus communication devices with other vehicles to work out the optimal route to a destination, so saving on energy. A Motobot might one day give you a ride to work or even deliver a pizza to your home!