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How Will We Get Around Near-Future Earth?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the cold-fusion-hybrid-flying-recumbent-bikes dept.

Science 974

Slob Nerd points to this BBC article on future transport possibilities. It begins "The prospect of a revolution in air travel has been raised by Nasa's successful test of a 5,000mph plane. But are we likely to see similar advances in other forms of transport? Dusting off the crystal ball, what changes might come in the way we get around? What big ideas are out there, and do they have any chance of seeing the light of day?"

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spammer's personal e-mail address (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722193) yeah scott richter's personal e-mail


Whatever it is... (5, Funny)

Valar (167606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722195)

it'll be safe to say it isn't the segway... :P

Re:Whatever it is... (5, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722299)

What if you put a scram jet ON a segway!? That's fun for the whole family!

Re:Whatever it is... (0)

APL bigot (606126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722331)

it'll be safe to say it isn't the segway... :P

But rather a Beowolf cluster of Segways...

I want my flying car (5, Funny)

richardoz (529837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722200)

you insensitive clod...

Re:I want my flying car (4, Funny)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722230)

I wanna talk on my cell phone while reading a news paper with one foot out my door while I drive a flying car!

Re:I want my flying car (4, Funny)

Sevn (12012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722251)

Considering the morons they let drive cars, the only way I'd feel safe driving the friendly skies would be if:

1) Manditory intelligence testing
2) Manditory hand eye coordination testing
3) Manditory reaction time testing
4) Hardcore schooling and licensing program
5) Very intense vehicle licensing and inspection program

I don't want to share the skies with the same people that drive beat to shit, oil burning cameros from the late 70's if they are going to drive a similar sky vehicle. By that same token, I DEFINITELY don't want to share the skies with your typical hunched over florida driver behind the wheel of a shit insane scary swerving winged cadillac.

Re:I want my flying car (5, Funny)

BlueCup (753410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722324)

1) Mandatory intelligence testing

I don't want people driving that can't spell.

All apologies if this is a spelling accepted in other countries.

Re:I want my flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722372)

"Mandatory" is definitely correct. Try a dictionary.

Re:I want my flying car (5, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722342)

Sorry, but intelligence has nothing to do with many of the problems on the roads today. There are idiots that drive quite safely and geniuses that are space cadets.

Only way to work is to eliminate a computer at the controls. A central traffic grid would be hard to setup but once created could be very efficient at selecting routes to destinations. When you arrive at the address you specify getting in the car then you can point to a more precise location or tell the car to park itself. If you have no specific destination you could tell the car to just cruise.

Re:I want my flying car (4, Funny)

A.T. Hun (192737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722352)

You forgot

6) I would be allowed to have air-to-air missiles

High speed trains (5, Interesting)

s0rbix (629316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722205)

I'd like to see more high speed trains in the US. It's a lot more economical than air travel, can be just as fast (with aiport wait times and all), and is just as if not safer than flying.

Re:High speed trains (1)

JamesB___ (17245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722234)

what about the underwater travel thing they posted here a while back. I think it was based on cavitation or something like that. That seems cool, but I think hitting a whale a high speed might not work out so well.

Re:High speed trains (5, Insightful)

dustmote (572761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722237)

I have also heard it suggested that doing so would probably create many jobs in the US as the building and operations infrastructure was being put into place, not to mention the increased commerce between disparate parts of the US. I don't know the validity of these claims, but they seem reasonable enough. A good kick in the pants for us USicans economy if true, no? I don't see it being very easy to get widespread support with the current power structure, though.

Re:High speed trains (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722257)

"I'd like to see more high speed trains in the US"

But General Motors doesn't want to see that in the U.S...

Re:High speed trains (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722347)

Who do you think is the world's largest building of locomotives? Surely they could find a way to profit from more rail travel if they had to.

Re:High speed trains (2, Insightful)

lpret (570480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722355)

Neither do the oil companies...

Re:High speed trains (2, Insightful)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722283)

OK, I'll see your more high speed trains in the US and raise you a whole lot more plain, ordinary passenger (or even a few more freight) trains first.

It's seems ironic that one of the nations that brought rail travel to the world is now one of the least railed now. We may very well revert/advance to railed systems in the future, but it will only be after serious economical and social changes have taken place... which assumes the demise of the automobile and its associated freedoms as we know and love it now. I'm not holding my breath (except when I'm in the big, smoggy cities).

Maglev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722290)

Yeah, high speed trains.

In Toronto, Canada we have...Something like 4 subway lines? The trains that come into the city only do during rush hour (which is good, but it'd be nice if it was at least 18 hours a day). If you get on the 401 it's just BRUTAL.

And then there's the fucking 407 - the most expensive highway in North America (or so I'm told). They even had a policy for a short time (or maybe still do) that if you didn't pay your bill then you couldn't renew your license!

So I say trains, slow ones, fast ones, all connected nicely so you could theoretically go from your suburbs in one city, to suburbs in another city with minimal stop offs (which would mean going into downtown would be twice as easy).

GO Transit (2, Informative)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722351)

The trains that come into the city only do during rush hour (which is good, but it'd be nice if it was at least 18 hours a day).

What dark subway tunnel do you lurk in all day? The GO Trains [] , brining people all around the 905 into the city, run from about 6am to 12:43am. I use them all the time...

Can't hijack a train (2, Insightful)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722360)

Well, I suppose you can, but you can't crash it into anything. Well, I suppose you can, but only the station at the end of the line.

As I recall, right after 9/11 suddenly D.C. politicians were talking about how maybe neglecting our national rail system was maybe not such a good idea after all. I was heartened by the possibility that we could be at the dawn of a new rail era. Well, that lasted about 1.5 days. Then it was back to business as usual and the good ol' auto lobby calling all the shots.

dubious speed arguments (5, Interesting)

big!theory (678960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722367)

the jury is out on whether high speed rail systems are economical. the fingers are typically pointed at systems in Europe or Asia that aren't analogous to the geography and population density of much of the United States.

part of the cost and inefficiency of air travel is caused by our hub-and-spoke air network system. this forces a lot of connections and short hops that could be unnecessary.

James Fallows wrote an interesting book about the very-near future of air travel. He makes the case that we need smaller regional airports and smaller high efficiency jets. These would allow many of us to make direct city-to-city flights without the need to go thru congested hub cities.

Check out Fallow's Free Flight at Amazon. Free Flight []

Transporters (5, Funny)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722213)

Star Trek style Transporters. The government has them in secret underground bases, but the aliens dont want us to know about them, so they force the government to keep them hidden.

Re:Transporters (1)

Gewis (717661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722301)

Who on earth modded the parent informative?

Re:Transporters (5, Funny)

jmv (93421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722308)

There should be a way to meta-mod that (Score:2, Informative) as "funny".

Hello moderators! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722373)

This post is "informative"? Please don't drink and moderate.

Re:Transporters (3, Funny)

MagFox (229571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722374)

Informative and insightful! Now that is funny.

Proofreading the title yields: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722216)

How Will We Get Around in Near-Future Earth?

I dunno . . . (2, Insightful)

dorlthed (700641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722217)

I just don't feel like scramjets are the future of transportation. Anything traveling that fast will be too small and would be too rough of a ride to be practical for mass/personal transport.

I don't think there are going to be any radical changes in transportation, speedwise, until we acheive teleportation a la Star Trek. But feel free to argue if you feel differently.

Re:I dunno . . . (5, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722271)

I think we won't see a change in transportation until we see some new energy sources. Right now I just don't think we can do all that much more with gasoline. Bring on Fusion and much improved batteries. Man, batteries haven't really changed in years!

I think that is holding back most innovation right now, reliance on gasoline and fossil fuels keeps out energy levels low in comparison. We might see a large change in 2014? Whenever the fusion reactor is created and successfully tested. Of course, hopefully they learned from such nuclear accidents as Cherynobl and Three Mile Island, I suspect a fusion related accident would be much worse.

Re:I dunno . . . (1)

protohiro1 (590732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722332)

Orbital power? Wouldn't that be nice? And safer too I think...and use the power to convert water to hydrogen.

Re:I dunno . . . (3, Informative)

Gewis (717661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722341)

A fusion related accident isn't going to be bad. There is no melt down. If your field loses confinement, everything cools down nearly instantaneously, and you just have this hydrogen and helium gas sitting in your reactor. There are no control rods, no heavy isotopes... That's why it's so great: it's nearly perfect. It has potential to provide cheap energy, clean reactions, minimal hazards... Now, whether that will have anything to do with transporation is another question. Mr. Fusion isn't likely to see break-even on your hover-car.

Re:I dunno . . . (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722368)

Mr Fusion no, but giant fusion power plant charging a fuel cell could.

Besides that, Fusion is hot, if confinement is broken you could end up with serious problems, fortunately because of the nature of fusion there wouldn't be any particles outside that are light enough to fuse properly with so it would hopefully fizzle out.

I think it does have great potential and is very worth researching, throw some more money at that problem and have the thing built sooner. It would do a world of good changing a reliance on oil and thus changing a whole political landscape for the entire world.

Re:I dunno . . . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722354)

Yes and no.

With a fusion reactor, you've got (on current technology) a great big blob of plasma at incredibly high temperatures. Not something you want to have escape into the environment. Against that, though, it's not particularly radioactive -- yes, there are radioactive isotopes in there, but they're short lived. Most of the byproducts of fusion will be helium-3 or helium-4, both of which are stable from a nuclear point of view. You may also get helium-2, which would decay pretty damn fast to deuterium (aka hydrogen-2) and tritium (hydrogen-3) which decays (half life of about 12 years) to helium-3.

So the short term effect of a fusion accident would probably be worse than the short term effect of a fission accident. But I'd rather be cleaning up the result of a fusion accident after a couple of days than the result of a fission accident. And if I were told I had to live in a post-accident zone, I'd be choosing the post-fusion zone, not the post-fission zone.

As for the radiation released by a fusion reaction, most of it is a few neutrons (deuterium fused with tritium, for example, will produce helium-4, plus a neutron). That'll irradiate structures, but can be controlled without too much trouble.

In short: I'd be happy with a fusion reactor in the back yard. Just give me enough room that the super-heated plasma won't cause me grief if it spills out, and shield the neutron emissions, and we'll get along fine.

In the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722221)

The earth will be paved. With concrete.

We will cruise the Earth in our Hypercars, marvelling at the brown sky.

Re:In the future (4, Informative)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722274)

The earth will be paved. With concrete.

Asphalt, not concrete. Concrete requires expansion joints, which can cause problems at 300+mph, even in hypercars. Read the FAQ.

Re:In the future (1)

astroglide2000 (756298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722378)

this whole thread is stupid. The human race may not exist in 60 years if things dont change. We are destroying the earth. Oil will run out. I think whoever started this thread is an idiot.

Re:In the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722284)

what - you mean it WONT be paved in Chocolate???? Fuck this shit - I want my money back!

Re:In the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722289)

I knew it was to quiet around here I was waiting for the environmentalists to show up. Sure enough, only took 7 posts!

Not by walking (5, Funny)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722222)

One thing is clear; in America no one will walk. It will be too dangerous - if you aren't run over by an SUV, suffocated by smog, you'll collapse from a heart attack because you weigh 300 pounds and you're body can't take the exertion.

Re:Not by walking (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722279)

Take that back! I'm American, and I'm a trim 240!

Re:Not by walking (4, Funny)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722304)

Or maybe we can be like China [] and ban walking and force everyone to run!

Solve any congestion problems and improve the health of citizens at the same time. Seems like a great idea to me

Required comment ... (1, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722225)

Required comment regarding my flying car, or lack thereof.

Re:Required comment ... (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722349)

That's OBLIGATORY comment you clod!

It'll be the long-promised (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722226)

nuclear powered flying cars.

Re:It'll be the long-promised (0)

boisepunk (764513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722272)

5 minutes after the mass production on the "nuclear powered flying cars"


Good ol' days (3, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722227)

Can't we just ride bikes and enjoy the scenery rather than fly past it at 5000 Mph?

Re:Good ol' days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722265)

Assuming that the trends of the last thirty years regarding techology and leisure time continue, it's safe to say that in the future, all of our waking (and sleeping) time will be spent working for one corporation or another.

That means there will be no time for thinking of bikes, much less riding them.

Re:Good ol' days (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722338)

Tell me how the advent of the car killed the bicycle. Or the advent of the plane.

Some people actually have a need to get somewhere, and a bicycle just won't do. When I was in school, I had a job interview on the other side of the state (300 miles away). They flew me there, which was slightly more convenient than bicycling, especially since I had class the next day. Yet that weekend, like most weekends, I went out and rode my bike for pleasure and exercise.. Somehow I managed to get on a plane and not forget how a bicycle works.

When the next form of transportation comes around, I'm willing to bet that it won't cause us to forget how to bicycle either.

17th post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722232)

ba ha

Really big airplanes? (1, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722233)

What happened to all the really big airplanes that were supposed to be on their way?

Re:Really big airplanes? (0)

boisepunk (764513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722315)

those were called "concordes" and a few european nations grounded them after a suspicious crash

Re:Really big airplanes? (2, Funny)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722318)

They require completely new airports - out of the question in most large cities, where the cities grew around the airport and there is no possibility of expansion.

By God, the future had better include... (5, Funny)

paulschroeder (757739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722235)

a hoverboard a la Back to the Future II.

Re:By God, the future had better include... (1)

capz loc (752940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722312)

Well, that part of the movie took place in 2015, so those won't be commonplace for another 11 years or so. Until then, I'm thinkin' rocket-propelled rollerblades or pogo shoes.

Moller SkyCar... (2, Funny)

m0ng0l (654467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722236)

One hopes that this idea might "get off the ground." I for one would love to finally have the flying cars we were all promised we'd be riding in by the 1990s' Although I doubt this thing would be able to get past FAA regs, much less be cleared to allow people to have one in their garage, to take out in the morning, and zoom off to work, vacation, or whatever...

Jason A.

Re:Moller SkyCar... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722326)

Only way flying anything for the masses would work is if it were computer controlled. Some wireless connection to a traffic grid so you just set your destination address and it takes you their using the most efficient route. Once you are close to your destination verbal or even thought commands could be used for fine movement, hell, even pointing would work.

Another Earth????!!!! NOOO!!!! (2, Funny)

Orthogonal Jones (633685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722238)

I can bench press a lot, me and my near-future self will bench press each other. Then we'll get around the near-future earth.

Of course, we would then have to get around Bizarro Earth. Personally, I'm assuming my Bizarro self is a terrific dancer and extremely wealthy, so I plan on crashing on his couch.

Excercise? Ooops, bad word. Sorry. (5, Insightful)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722239)

How about building cities so you can walk or ride a bike to where you need to go, instead of building strictly for car-sized vehicular traffic?

Have you ever tried to walk to the mall?

Re:Excercise? Ooops, bad word. Sorry. (1)

lpret (570480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722377)

The problem is that we seldom build cities. Cities morph -- especially in our suburban mindset we've have for the past century or so. Cities have in fact become more sprawling simply because of our transportation. So trying to "build" a city that is counter-culture will not only be tough, but not popular.

Out where? (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722241)

I dont go outside now, why should the future be any different?

Safer way (2, Insightful)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722242)

Matrix style plugging into something somewhere, and projecting yourself into reality there. Sure, you won't actually be transporting, but you won't know the difference, and it'll be instantaneous. Seems workable, although I'm just a little leery of the needle in the back of my skull.

Re:Safer way (1)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722280)

And it's gotta beat telecommuting... Can I be Neo?

Magic 8 Ball (2, Informative)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722244)

I predict higher population density, growing urbanization and the increase of public transportation and pedestrians.

Probably no chance of most of those anytime soon.. (3, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722245)

The only thing I really see coming to market are more effecient cars. There's already some, but there will start to be more alternative fuel cars at some point. Of course, there's no infrastructure for supplying these alternatives.

All the recent talk of alternative (to automobiles) transportation has been sparked by the high gas prices. It's not because we're short on gas, it's because of the oil cartels. If we switch to an alternative fuel, do you think these people will sit back and just watch their industry crumble? No, they will be the ones controlling the alternative fuel markets too.. So in the end it won't make a damned but of difference as long as they are around.

changes (1)

smokin_juan (469699) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722249)

what changes might come in the way we get around?

In ten to fifteen years when peak oil hits we just won't.

nuclear powered rockets (1)

bob_jenkins (144606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722250)

Nuclear powered rockets aren't going to be it. They may be good for a few dozen heavy-lifting projects, but uranium is just too poisonous for them to become commonplace.

I'm still crossing my fingers for the space elevator.

I anticipate a "darl pony ride" in the future... (1)

mobiux (118006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722252)

Because any fair judge would make him spend the rest of his days giving people pony rides around town.

Man (1, Funny)

SargeZT (609463) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722254)

The government has a water fueled car... but man, they won't tell us, because then we'd use all the water, and only have beer left to drink. And man, beer sets your mind free!

More energy faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722259)

Seems like using more energy faster is the actual opposite of what this world needs.

I want a snail powered car...

cowardice can be fun! Try it!

Shorter distances? (5, Insightful)

awgriff279 (624548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722262)

Speed is sexy, of course, but what about just bringing things closer together? Replacing urban sprawl with accomodating (not communist) apartment complexes would be one step towards making a commute faster. What new technologies would make this more possible?

Re:Shorter distances? (2, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722350)

Urban sprawl isn't a technological problem.

People like their space, in the U.S. especially. And we have LOTS of space left. Things are just going to get more and more spread out.

In fact, any kind of revolution in transportation increases this effect. Imagine if we had working teleportation- people could live anywhere they wanted to (well, that had basic utilities). The population of the world would be completely spread out.

p.s.- read Alfred Bester's SF novel "The Stars My Destination", where teleportation and it's effects on society is a major theme. And, it happens to be arguably the best SF novel ever.

5,000 mph plane (1)

nil5 (538942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722264)

Well, not until we attach rockets to the planes to get them fast enough to make a scram jet possible. recall, the scram jet won't work until you're going that bast, and the only way to get going that fast is through a rocket. At least that's what I read (Even the fastest plane, the Sr-71 could go 3,000 mph, it's top speed is classified).

In other words, that ain't happening for a while.

and really, we need new technology. what we have right now just won't do.

DeLorean (2, Funny)

ItMustBeEsoteric (732632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722266)

How are they going to add the time travel feature if they don't make new models?!?! I WAS PROMISED A TIME TELEPORTING CAR.

Real men... (2, Funny)

222 (551054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722270)

Real men travel via |

Piiipesss!!! [1] (2, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722275)

Pipeline Monorail [] anyone?

[1] My apologies to Bill Cosby's Shelby Cobra routine.

Automotive! (2, Insightful)

sumdeus (656737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722276)

But are we likely to see similar advances in other forms of transport?
I for one would like to see some real improvement in the automotive market. With all of the major car manufacturers dragging their feet over alternative fuel solutions for so many years, the actual adoption of even hybrids has been significantly delayed. I need options with these ever raising gas prices.

Is it feasible for public transport ? (1)

kaykay_2k1 (604774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722293)

I don't think any commercial airliner would opt for this scramjet technology for Public Transport. Will it be the next Concorde?

Faster planes? (5, Interesting)

SetarconeX (160251) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722297)

The last time I checked, commercial airplanes in the US weren't allowed to fly past the speed of sound to prevent sonic booms (which, incidently, growing up next to an Air Force base, I can tell you is really something you get used to quickly).

The way I see it, my getting across the country isn't a matter of airplanes not being able to go faster, it's airplanes not being allowed to go faster.

Now, a couple of Maglevs might be nice....

Well, it the future, so... (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722305)

It seems to me that, since these events I need to "get around" for are in the future, there's time for them to change so they'll occur where I'll be at the time. Anything else is bad planning.

And since I've just pointed it out, it can't be bad planning on my part, can it? So whoever screws up the plan can figure out how to get me whereever. Why should I clean up someone else's mess?

Bike.. (2, Interesting)

Hello this is Linus (757336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722309)

I prefer transportation by bicycle...

Good'ol human powered transportation never hurt any one..or has it?

Re:Bike.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722356)

You obviously life in a Smog free area. Bike riding in LA causes respitory problems. So the answer is Yes, it is bad for your health!

Nano-tube Train tracks all the way! (1)

jparp (316662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722310)

Hey, if we can build a space elevator out of these puppies, why not train tracks? If there so cheap enough to make, we might just see some grass-roots style train development...

That is of course, if and only if nanotubes can be developed to be environmentally sound.

in our skycars! (1)

binarybum (468664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722316)

C'mon, hasn't everyone here already Reserved a Skycar? []

Ubiqutous, on demand public transport system (4, Insightful)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722319)

Some sort of AI based network of vehicles that are available on demand (the nearest parked car will come to you -- or to the nearest "junction"). No one needs to "own" a vehicle. They will all be safe too.

Oh, that, and cities rising vertically instead of horizontally via suburban sprawl, leading to afforable housing for all.


We could ride cows (0)

madcow15 (512585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722323)

Yeah cows, we could make use of the tons of methane that the produce each year. We could bake cars that run on methane or rocket cars that run on methane that would be soo cool.
I like cows the mooo and make milk hehe!!!

I highly doubt that... (1, Funny)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722325)

"Nasa scientists say their experimental X-43A jet has the potential to make the world a much smaller place."

Somehow I find it difficult to believe that NASA scientists said their experimental jet will alter the size of thw world.

I'll give you a reason (5, Insightful)

ctime (755868) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722339)

The number one reason why we don't have flying cars: People would have to fly them. Anyone who's ever had to drive more than day in their life knows what im talking about.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722340)

Please don't mod this down, I don't want to be alone forever

3... 2... 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722344)

counting down to the first rocket car reference...

Electric cars, I hope (2, Interesting)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722348)

The technology is all there. AC Propulsion just took a trip from LA to Vegas [] in a lithium-battery car. That's all the range we need for a practical car. They did it using thousands of off-the-shelf mobile device lithium batteries. How much would it cost if automotive-size lithium batteries were mass-produced? I'm guessing prices would be competitive with the price of a new ICE car, except that electric drivers won't ever have to worry about gas going to $3/gal.

Also I hope that cities start being designed to be anti-car, meaning they are designed to be accessed on foot or by public transit systems. If you've ever been to Singapore you know what I'm talking about.

Create a wireless web [] site

Re:Electric cars, I hope (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722384)

Also I hope that cities start being designed to be anti-car, meaning they are designed to be accessed on foot or by public transit systems. If you've ever been to Singapore you know what I'm talking about.

I lived in Singapore for 2.5 years without a car, and I can tell you I was really glad to move back to Australia where cars are cheap. Catching buses and trains might be fun for tourists, but imagine carrying 5 bags of groceries back from the market on a bus or train on a regular basis .. certainly NOT fun!

End of Oil? (2, Interesting)

DarrylKegger (766904) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722359)

Many automotive pundits believe that hydrogen fuel cells are the way of the future, but what is often misunderstood is that hydrogen is merely an energy carrier, not a source, and as such has to be produced from some other source, ie oil, nuclear, solar, squirrels on a wheel etc. Finding a viable alternative to petroleum based transport is vital if some of the prominent oil geologists are to be believed, many of their predictions see oil production unable to meet demand as early as 2010. For further info google "peak oil hubbert"

scramjets are out (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722363)

They couldn't even make supersonic passenger jets economical. You can forget about scramjets.

wtfmblts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722369)


The catch about high speed... (5, Insightful)

gloth (180149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722370) that the actual flight is only a small part of the trip.

I, for one, live near the Raleigh/Durham [] airport. My next trip will be to New Orleans. With standard planes, that's a flight time of maybe 2 hours and a bit. But what about my trip, as it is?

  • Driving to the airport: 0:10
  • Parking, waiting for shuttle to bring me to the terminal: 0:20
  • Checking in, security, waiting, boarding: 1:00
  • Flying to Charlotte: 1:00
  • Waiting for connecting flight: 1:10
  • Flying to New Orleans: 2:10
  • Waiting for baggage, shuttle: 0:40
  • Drive to French Quarter: 0:30
So, now the grand total is: 7 hours. If I was on a jet that can reach Mach 7, and would be allowed to do so over land, how much time would this really save? In this example, maybe something between 1 and 2 hours. So, I save about 20 percent of my travel time. Big deal. Having a direct flight, as I still had in 2001, would have saved me more.

So, fast planes are nice and all, and if your idea of a commute is from LA to Tokyo, this is splendid news for you. For the rest of us, faster planes are a nice solution... just not for our problem.

For what it's worth: this simple math is also the reason why Boeing's planned SonicCruiser didn't get anyone really excited.

I predict...... (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722375)

that the new 5,000 mph, Scram Jet aircraft will revolutionize the future of air travel.

Just like the Concord does today.

Horses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722376)

I don't know why noone else has mentioned this... but horseback has to be the most enjoyable way to travel.

Now that the Internet has come, there's no need to leave your house for any reason besides pleasure.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8722382)

If we look at the current trend of transportation we can see an interesting pattern. First there were roller skates up until the late 80's, then roller blades during the early 90's, then skate boards mid to late 90's, and now we have a scooter.

From this we infer that four wheels in a row are better than four wheels aligned two abreast. Combining this property with the skateboard gave a wobbly board, so a stick was added with handle bars.

We also notice a trend of "bringing back the 80's". So if my predictions are correct we should see everyone getting around with "scuttles". These scuttles will be like a skateboard with a stick touting an ugly 80's color scheme.

Just my predictions anyway...

No more cars (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 10 years ago | (#8722383)

Cars are inefficient and dangerous. In any moderately sized city (1 million or more), the infrastructure is enormous and yet is still inadequate -- gridlock occurs everywhere with annoying frequency. Cars are expensive to buy and maintain. They produce more than their share of pollution. Whatever the future of transportation is, I'm quite sure that we will see much less reliance on individual cars, and much more on mass transit.
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