So what do you think will be the future of transport? E-bikes, scooters, the Hyperloop? Well, this week has seen a slew of new launches and innovations across the globe from companies which are aiming to deliver, greener, safer and more reliable ways of transporting us around. Ashley Norris of Transition Earth gives his selection for this week.
1. The boat of the future?
UK-based Artemis Technologies this week unveiled its take on the future of sailing with the latest stage in the development of its Artemis eFoiler electric propulsion system.
The system which enables a zero-emissions boat to ‘fly over the waves,’ is described as highly scalable. Providing a number of operational benefits, it is designed to suit a wide range of vessels and applications including those in offshore wind and passenger transportation sectors.
The prototype workboat will have a cruising speed of 25 knots, a maximum speed of more than 30 knots and a range of 60 nautical miles at cruising speed. The Artemis eFoiler systems include hydrofoils, a flight control system and an electric drivetrain.
2. Autonomous scooters
Well not quite autonomous yet, but almost. Ford’s micro-mobility arm Spin has teamed up with software company Tortoise to bring teleoperated three-wheeled e-scooters to cities across North America and Europe.
While not fully driverless and automated, the scooters can be operated remotely and can, for example, be moved from a docking station directly to a user. So, in theory, you will be able to hail one via an app and it will come to you.
The first batch of its S-200 model will be deployed to Boise, Idaho this Spring with other cities and regions, including Europe, though given government regulation probably not the UK, to follow.
3. The greenest and lightest e-bike
That’s the claim of a Scottish company FreeFlow Technologies which has announced that it has secured a financial war chest of nearly £2 million to make its product a reality. The money will be spent on developing an e-bike transmission system which the company claims is more lightweight and provides a higher power density as well as delivering lower emissions than its rivals.
The key is that its motor and battery are assembled into the bicycle frame rather than later added on via a bulky external box. The company also says it has created a mechanical transmission system for fixed wheel bikes that allows the rider to freewheel, whilst retaining the smooth ride quality of the fixed wheel.
4. The Hyperloop gets a video and a date for launch
Put 2030 in your diary as that is set to be the year that the much-discussed Virgin Hyperloop is slated to become a real-world travel service.
The company has also just issued a video that shows the entire Hyperloop journey (check it out, above) – arriving at the station, checking in, travelling and then arriving. And the promise appears to be speeds of over 500mph.
5. Flying cars
Finally how about this? Massachusetts-based Terrafugia announced earlier this week that its “Transition” flying car has received an FAA Special Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate.
So the theory runs that the day when your drive the car to the airport and then hit the runway and take off in it has come a step closer. For now though the license means that Transition is “manufactured to the applicable FAA accepted consensus standards,” so still a long way from getting the thumbs up for commercial or personal use. Terrafugia says that it completed 80 days of flight testing with the Transition, so maybe the flying car isn’t too far off.
And in case you were wondering Transition is a two-seater hybrid model.