The Life of a Future Traveller
The advent of autonomous vehicles, the rapid development of Hyperloop technology, and the possibility of a return to supersonic flight: the travel of tomorrow is evolving rapidly. Callum Tyndall explores what the future might hold
The Year is 2028
Although subject to multiple delays, Tesla has eventually achieved its full rollout of affordable, autonomous vehicles. From semi-trailer trucks to sleek roadsters, the Tesla logo flashes by almost constantly.
It wasn’t, of course, the only company to invest in the autonomous vehicle revolution, and the familiar badges of brands such as BMW and Audi join them on the road, albeit without the same iconography that Tesla managed to generate in the early days of the transition to autonomy.
And while many now own a driverless car, even more simply rely on them as a taxi service; the shared fleet notion that Tesla first proposed in 2016 now a commonality across car companies.
You don’t need to own a car when you can simply summon one as required, making the owner some extra cash and giving you an easy travel option without any of the ownership concerns.
The ride-share businesses that had previously existed have evolved as well; after recovering from their range of lawsuits and public relations issues, Uber managed to cut down on its massive driver costs by switching to an autonomous fleet, and Lyft et al. soon followed suit.
Of course, the advent of the shared fleets provided by the likes of Tesla and Waymo dramatically cut into their business model, but they limp on for now.
If your commute is longer than a drive, however, a Hyperloop journey is likely to be your go-to. Originally conceived of way back in 2013, the concept was picked up by a variety of companies looking to take advantage of the potential for super high-speed public transport.
Virgin’s Hyperloop One is possible the biggest name in the business, with routes across the world, but several smaller competitors have also set out to corner more local markets.
In all areas, though, it took some adaptation; the idea of getting into an electromagnetically levitated pod and shot to your destination at 700mph is no longer strange and has revolutionised commuting.
The knock-on effects have been myriad, but one notable benefit has been that, with travel times drastically cut down, people are no longer forced to cram into overpriced cities for work but can instead enjoy a relaxing commute from far-flung locations.
Within the city, travel is largely handled by the shared fleets, but driverless buses have also found their place. As vehicle autonomy was refined, sales rapidly picked up and sleek silver buses now glide around the cities with their passengers.
Accessibility and connectivity have been dramatically enhanced and cities as a whole have benefitted from the cleaner vehicles that now handle the bulk of public transport.
Of course, travel is not only earthbound, and aerial platforms and flying vehicles serve as a secondary form of public transport.
While more expensive than the buses, and subject to a bevy of regulations, they allow travellers to more easily cross the city and even offer the possibility of ferrying vehicles without passengers ever having to step outside their car.
Lastly, for those seeking to travel further abroad, air travel has had its own revolutions. Once the sonic boom problem was resolved, supersonic flight gradually became commonplace and flight times have now been drastically reduced.
Moreover, various design improvements such as microlattice materials and blended wing structures have, once perfected, allowed for a far sleeker flight. And as with most vehicles, clean energy solutions have meant that planes can now soar through the sky without a hint of carbon footprint.