technology

Transportation tech from the future: What we could be driving one day


Living room: the Airo lets you swivel the driver’s seat to let you get on with other things

If you thought Tesla was the cutting-edge of transportation technology, then we’ve got news for you.

While Elon has been working hard at turning out eye-catching electronic motors, other forms of transportation have also been given a futuristic makeover.

And while everyone knows we’re still waiting for flying cars to make an appearance, there’s some genuinely exciting concepts being dreamed up.

We’ve taken a look at some sci-fi inspired methods of transportation that could one day be taking up space on our driveways.

Lets just focus on how good they look and not what they’re likely to cost, eh?

IM Motors Airo by Heatherwick Studio

Meet the Airo

Some of the futuristic methods of transport on this page are vaguely plausible but here’s something that looks like it was dreamed up for a future none of us are likely to live to see.

Meet the Airo, built for IM Motors by Heatherwick Studio. It may resemble a greenhouse on wheels but it’s a fully electric autonomous concept car that, because it drives itself, lets you swivel the driver’s seat around to get on with other things.

There is a table in the middle for working, eating or socialising at and a foldaway screen that allows you to play video games or watch TV.

Think of it as a cross between a living room and a taxi. Park outside and it will double as an office, games room or even a guest room. It can also drive you to the pub.

Oh, and when it’s driving, its filtration technology cleans up pollutants emitted by petrol and diesel cars ahead of you. Genius or utterly mad? Only time will tell.

Triggo transforming car/bike

The Triggo transforming car/bike

Motorbikes are great for nipping through city traffic but, let’s face it, they are awful in bad weather and are not as safe as four-wheeled transport.

What if you could combine the safety and comfort of a car with the traffic-scything agility of a motorbike? That’s what the makers of the Triggo have done.

This bonkers contraption is technically a quadricycle — a four-wheeled, electric car — that, at the push of a button, can pull its wheels inboard to make it as narrow as a motorbike.

As a result, the Triggo has all the stability of a car during normal operation. You can throw it around corners without too much fear of it toppling over but when you encounter a busy stretch of stationary traffic, you can fold the wheels in and filter through the gaps.

You can even cram a passenger behind the driver. Beats being on the Piccadilly line, eh?

Ultraleap haptic technology

In the future, we won’t even need to touch the controls (Credits: REMCO MERBIS)

Touch screens are so 20th century. According to Ultraleap, the next big evolution in user interfaces is haptic, gesture-based technology. In other words, tech that lets users feel virtual buttons.

The system uses an array of small speakers that produce sound we can feel rather than hear. Wave your hand and you can feel virtual, invisible buttons floating in front of your hand.

Ultraleap recognises what it is you’re trying to manipulate, giving you a physical sensation of what icons, switches or knobs feel like. It sounds mad and will no doubt take a lot of getting used to but the technology is cool and actually works.

Nawa Racer

The Nawa electric motorbike

Batteries have green upsides but also significant environmental disadvantages of their own. Luckily, there are companies working on addressing the negatives — not least Nawa, which has designed an electric motorbike that uses ultra-capacitors to negate some of the disadvantages of lithium.

The Racer has a very respectable 180-mile range — on a par with many petrol motorbikes — and its hub-less e-motor produces 100bhp, allowing for a 0-60 time of just three seconds and a 100mph top speed.

Oh, and it looks like something from the future and the past at the same time. Sign us up.


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