High Tech Travel From Around the Globe
Technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, no more so than in the way we travel from A to B around the world. Advances in all forms of design have led to some interesting and diverse ways for us to make journeys, long and short, for business and for pleasure. Here is a look at ten of the ways advances in high tech travel let us get around.
1. Japan’s Bullet Train
The Shinkansen (as it is also known) is a group of networked high-speed train lines in Japan. Shinkansen simple means ‘new truck line’, but the term is used within and outside Japan as a name for not only the trains, but also the lines they operate on. It all began back in 1964 with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which ran between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. Since then, the lines have now expanded to just short of one hundred and fifty thousand miles, and trains can travel at a maximum of 186mph. Currently the network connects most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. There is also work underway to connect the lines to the northern island of Hokkaido.
2. Google’s Driverless Car
This project by Google is aimed at developing driverless car technology and currently has 15 engineers putting their brains to the concept. The Toyota Primus has been modified and tested as a driverless car, and the U.S. state of Nevada has passed out a law concerning the use of driverless cars in its state. In May 2012, the first driving licence for a self-driven car was issued. The project team announced in August 2012 that they have clocked up over 480,000 autonomous-driving miles without any accidents. The car operates with the combination of video cameras, a selection of radars within and around the car, and artificial intelligence software. Should this ever become a commercial adventure, it will be interesting to see how driving lessons and proficiency tests are introduced and handled.
Two companies, Tecnalia and Pukas, have joined forces to come up with a ‘super-surfboard’ idea. In February 2011, the board was tested by an elite surfer named Aritz Aranburu. The new board is designed and built with a compass, a gyroscope, a GPS device, an accelerometer and pressured sensors which are able to measure the pressures placed on the board by the user. The data is all then transmitted wirelessly through for technical analysis on a computer.
4. Jetman’s Jetpack
Yves Rossy, a pilot and inventor from Switzerland, became the first human to fly with a jet-engine-powered wing attached to his back. The 52-year-old designed and built the system from carbon-fibre which is powered by four Jet Cat P200 engines. In November 2006, Rossy successfully tested his jetpack for approximately six minutes and nine seconds.
5. The Sea Shepard’s Gojira
This new anti-whaling vessel, named Gojira (means Godzilla in Japanese), was built to replace the Ady Gil, which suffered a collision at sea and subsequently sank in 2010. The captain of the vessel, Locky MacLean, is hoping for no such stories with Gojira, which cost £36 million to build. Gojira is reported as being able to go twice as fast as Ady Gil, and with the new speed and finely tuned tactics, there is hope that they can have a positive effect fighting the cause against illegal whaling vessels.
6. Kerimov’s Super Yacht
The ICE super yacht, built in 2005, is an environmentally friendly vessel. Suleiman Kerimov owns the ICE, which with the help of the latest technology, can reduce vibrations and noise, as well as controlling exhaust emission. At 295 feet, the vessel is one of the largest yachts across the world. The luxury super yacht’s main deck houses a swimming pool, and the sun deck contains a Jacuzzi.
7. Super Power Electric Car
The Porsche 911, installed with 16-28 batteries, is a super-powered ‘eco friendly’ sports car. It can reach speeds of up to 120mph. The car not only drives just like the normal Porsche 911, but with the added bonus of not stalling, being easier to drive, having a lower centre of gravity and with no waiting to warm up or smoke pollution.
One of the most environmentally friendly forms of transport to hit the streets in recent times is the Segway. As well as being fun, it is a great motorised way to get around for tech-fans of all ages; it has has no minimum age requirement and you don’t need formal driving lessons to drive one. It is an individual transport system invented by American, Dean Kamen. He describes it as a self-balancing personal transporter. A Segway is propelled by electricity provided by a large format battery.
9. Automated Guideway Transit
AGT or an Automated People Mover (APM) is a tram, which is usually located in airports across the world, and doesn’t require a driver. It works along the same sort of lines as a Skybus, Mini Rail and Goodyear PeopleMover. They can transport large numbers of passengers over relatively short distances in fast times.
10. Electric Skateboard
An electric skateboard is just a normal skateboard, which is propelled with an electric engine. Like a regular skateboard, it’s the shifting of the rider’s weight which helps to steer the device. It was designed for local transport originally, but is now used as an ‘off road’ device with the introduction of more sporty type models. With the assistance of 800-watt batteries, it can reach speeds up to 25 mph, and is perfect on grass, dirt, hard sand and gravel.
Ever tried any of these high tech travel gadgets? Or is there another technologically advanced method of transportation you’d like to talk about?