What Is The Future For The Speed Of Travel?
Transportation technology is progressing at a much slower pace than some of the other sciences, such as information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. However, transportation technology is about to move ahead rapidly in the coming years with the advent of two radically new technologies: frictionless and binary power. But how has the speed of travel changed across other forms of transport? And how fast will we travel in the future?
As George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO pointed out, besides the Concorde, we’ve been travelling by jet for 50 years at the same speed–a very surprising fact! And actually, commercial airliners are flying at slower speeds today than planes of the 1960s. Typically, today’s aircrafts range between 480 and 510 knots (553 and 587 MPH), compared to 525 knots (604 MPH) that the Boeing 707 averaged in the 1960s.From the explanation of Astronautics Professor Mark Drela, the main issue is fuel economy. Going faster uses more fuel per passenger-mile. This is especially true with the newer “high-bypass” jet engines with their large-diameter front fans.
From the explanation of Astronautics Professor Mark Drela, the main issue is fuel economy. Going faster uses more fuel per passenger-mile. This is especially true with the newer “high-bypass” jet engines with their large-diameter front fans.However, there is still the major exception: Concorde. That aircraft was jointly developed and produced by Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
However, there is still the major exception: Concorde. That aircraft was jointly developed and produced by Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London and Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK, Washington Dulles and Barbados in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development costs of the Concorde were a substantial economic loss. Moreover, due to the speed it travelled at, it generated a shock wave that produced an overwhelmingly loud booming sound as it passed overhead.
Fortunately, it’s in Concorde that we found the inspiration for the future of travelling by plane. Several companies are developing Supersonic Business Jets. The latest name on the list is the Texas billionaire Robert Bass’s Aerion Corp. The company is working to build a supersonic business jet, will get help from Europe’s Airbus Group NV in its quest to have an aircraft ready by 2021. The smaller size and “boom shaping” designs could help reduce or eliminate that booming noise, and the supersonic flight’s higher fuel burn per passenger-mile will be less of an issue for private operators than for airlines.
“All the foreigners who come to Japan that I’ve talked to have wanted to ride the Shinkansen because of the speed – but when you ride on the train, its similar to the experience of riding in an airplane – you know you’re going fast because you’re passing things at great speeds.” – Mary Moriarty
Fifty years ago, the first Shinkansen opened in Japan between Tokyo and Osaka with its speed of up to 130 MPH. The journey was cut from six hours to four – and later to three hours, ten minutes. Since then, high-speed rail travel has been developing non-stop across Japan. The trains are now even faster too, reaching speeds of up to 311 MPH.
As for the future of travelling by rail, there are a number of companies working on various ideas for transforming the train of the future. One of the most impressive projects is skyTran, a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated Personal Rapid Transit system. The skyTran network of computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employs state-of-the-art passive Maglev technology. The system transports passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner.
Cars have definitely changed a lot in the last 50 years. In 2012, there were 253 million cars registered in the U.S.–with 92% of households in the states owning at least one car.
For most of the 1960s, the top-selling car in the UK was the Austin 1100, which boasted a top speed of 87 MPH and could do 0 to 60 MPH in 17.3 seconds. But now, one of the fastest supercars, Bugatti Veyron, can easily reach a top speed of 250+ MPH. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds and 0 to 180 in 14 seconds.
However, the future of cars, as Google said, is the driverless car. Self-driving cars will, apparently, be even safer than being in a car with a driver. They’ll stick to the speed limit, won’t get distracted and are less likely to end up in crashes.
New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?
The fact is that the transportation should be clean, green, fast, comfortable and affordable for all in the future. It must also be financially sustainable on a global level too.
A vactrain (vacuum tube train) is a proposed design for very-high-speed rail transportation. It’s a maglev line using evacuated or partly evacuated tubes or tunnels. The lack of air resistance could permit vactrains to travel at very high speeds – up to 4,000 or 5,000 MPH, which is 5-6 times the speed of sound – using relatively little power. Vactrains might use gravity to assist their acceleration, allowing you to travel between New York and Beijing in less than 2 hours.
Share with us your visions about the future of travels.