INNOVATIONS IN TRANSPORTATION
Futuristic transportation has fascinated engineers, designers and artists for centuries. Comfortable, reliable cars take us wherever and whenever we want to go. High speed trains offer fast, safe travel over relatively long distances, and jet planes have connected the entire globe and reduced it to less than one day's journey. The ubiquitous Leonardo of Da Vinci Code fame designed airplanes four hundred years before Kitty Hawk.
However, this blessing is not without a curse. Progress has brought congestion, pollution and diminishing energy reserves. Now there is renewed interest in alternatives as emission-free driving and high energy prices become concerns. As these problems loom ever larger, we must now turn to more creative science and technology for solutions. Future Tech, Innovations in Transportation by Paul Schilperoord explores what the future can realistically look like based on concepts and prototypes currently in development by many major and some smaller companies.
Schliperoord looks at land, air and water travel, both historically and futuristically. He examines new concepts in both personal mobility and public transportation. My own special interest described in this book is "SkyTran," a concept for high-capacity, high-speed personal rapid transit developed by my good friend and high school classmate, Doug Malewicki.
This system operates with individual 2 seat vehicles suspended from elevated guideways--not unlike Chicago or New York's elevated trains, but better looking and almost noise-free. Users enter vehicles waiting at a station and program in a destination. The maglev powered car then accelerates into the main grid, whisking the passenger to his destination at speeds up to 100 mph. Maglev is a developing concept. A German company, Transrapid, has installed a maglev system in Shanghai which operates at 280 mph, and Central Japan Railway operates a prototype superconducting maglev train at 340 mph.
Much of the book examines land transportation, both personal vehicles and mass transport. Schilperoord discusses electrics, hybrid electrics, fuel cells, and even steam and air powered vehicles. Interestingly, automobiles were originally electric and steam powered, but they gradually disappeared as gasoline powered internal combustion engines proved a better system.
The main technical disadvantage with electric cars was and remains slow recharging and limited range of heavy batteries. Even though battery technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, advances are for small size applications like watches and computers. Scaling-up to a system large enough to power a car greatly magnifies the problems. Imagine a small lithium computer battery fire which causes minimal damage translated to a car fire that not only destroys one's car but their garage and house too. Future development of all-electrics is certainly possible, and as one example, the book presents the Eliica, developed at Keio University in Japan. It seats five and can attain speeds of over 200 mph. It has a range of 200 miles, but that's at slower speeds.
Hybrid electrics provide a means to solve the recharging and range problems and are already commercially available from Japanese manufacturers. Future hybrids will feature plug-in recharging and maybe even solar panels. Eventually the hybrid's internal combustion engine might be replaced with a fuel cell. Several auto companies are developing hydrogen powered concept cars, but cost is still prohibitive, and a fuel supply system is a long way off.
Public transportation originated as a practical means to make longer distance travel available to the masses. But once cheap cars and gasoline became available after WWII, the public worldwide strived for private car ownership. Reasons include shorter travel times, door to door service, comfort and privacy.
Speed and comfort for longer distances are being provided by high speed trains. More prosaic, both Mercedes-Benz and a Dutch company, are in production with high capacity (200 passenger) automated bus systems. And MIT is pushing the concept of fun little electric city cars for use in dense urban areas. These cars can be stacked throughout the city and rented inexpensively, then dropped off at other stacks.
Whether many of the concepts presented in the book will reach fruition only the future will show. However, it is fun to see what is currently on the drawing boards around the world. Success ultimately depends on available energy sources, environmental protection, and most important, on consumer appeal and acceptance.
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 1904772439
- 条形码: 9781904772439
- 商品尺寸: 19 x 1.5 x 25.1 cm
- 商品重量: 812 g
- ASIN: 1904772439
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