Transportation in a Connected World

The ability for devices to connect to each other across large stretches of land is perhaps the most important discoveries to be made in the last century. The implications of this newfound understanding are far from finished developing. There are intensely fascinating projects being worked on simultaneously all around the world, many of which threaten to change the entire human way of life.

transportTake the aspirations and accomplishments of Elon Musk, for example. Musk is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX. Tesla is an auto manufacturing company creating fully electric luxury vehicles that have thrown into question assumptions commonly made about everything from lithium ion batteries to driverless cars. SpaceX is the first privately owned company to send a rocket into space and has recently achieved its goal of creating a rocket that can fly into space and then land back on Earth. This makes rockets production and space travel much less expensive because vessels can be reused.

Musk has been very public about his hopes to colonize Mars and ultimately retire and die of old age there. His cars are already running on electricity and driving themselves, essentially revolutionizing the auto industry into one in which vehicles can be shared and thus bought in smaller amounts and the vehicles in production and use are not emitting the carbon emissions that are contributing to global warming.

Space travel for more ordinary people and even flying cars are no longer elements of far-out fantasy fiction; they’re the goals of very promising projects headed by some of the most fruitful and innovative engineers in the business. A co-founder of Google has already poured $100 million into promising startups working on designs for one-person vehicles that can launch from the ground and pilot themselves.

transportationEven without flying cars, public transportation infrastructure promises to change immensely as a result of autonomous driving capabilities. Buses and taxis are likely to be driven by computers instead of human drivers, and people will be able to share cars more effectively than ever before. That means fewer cars will be necessary and the cultural suggestions of having a car will change. Cars will be able to park themselves in far off places and be summoned from those spaces. Cars can be shared by families and less workforce time will be unnecessarily spent sitting in traffic because there are simply fewer cars on the road.

If cars begin to be able to fly, the relationship between infrastructure and major traffic currents will change even further; more cars and vehicles can be used, as there’s plenty of air space to go around. Whether the materials used to build and power these vehicles will be accessible enough to foster the growth of vehicles that there seems to be room for remains to be seen.

The most important aspect of any change in transportation is whether a human driver is necessary. As the internet and internet service expands as well as the information regarding roadways and the codes behind the autonomous driving programs, we get closer and closer to that point.

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