Mass Transit Mobility: Future Concepts Include Robotic Podcar Vehicles & More

InnoTrans 2012This September, Berlin hosted the International Trade Fair for Transportation Technology, InnoTrans. From September 23 through 26th, the massive Messe Berlin convention center hosted the show over a sprawling 94,000 square meters of exhibition space. In InnoTrans 2014’s Future Mobility Park, hundreds of transport innovations made their world premiers. The Future Mobility Park showcased the transportation of tomorrow. For projects that hope to set the trend for worldwide, regional, and local transportation, the Future Mobility Park represented a central platform, where their ideas could take root. Let’s take a look at three of the most interesting concepts presented at InnoTrans 2014.

InnoTrans 2014: What’s On Show at the Future Mobility Park

Lightweight, Light-Filled High Speed Trains. Today, Germany’s ICE (Intercity-Express) trains connect cities at speeds of more than 180 miles per hour. Now Mac Stoppa, chief designer/architect at Massive Design, has created a new ICE train concept using composite materials currently being developed for the aviation industry. The concept trains feature a double row of large circular windows down their sides, allowing natural light and passing sights to fill the cabins.

Integrated, Never-ending Ground-to-Sky Transport. Four project design engineers from the Glasgow School of Art are behind the ambitious “Horizon” concept. By 2050, Horizon promises to end airport traffic jams via a seamless ground-to-air experience. Passengers would travel to their local SkyStation and board a SkyLink pod, which would speed above cities on elevated platforms, linking up with other pods along the way. A SkyShip would then descend, connecting to the tracks via an “intelligent magnetic system.” While hovering, the automated SkyShip would drop off and pick up pods, all while maintaining speed.

Computer-Manned, Solar-Powered Transit. Jpods presented a concept for a computer-controlled mobility network. Their plans envision robot-manned pods running on elevated rails. Extremely lightweight materials and other innovations would allow the pods to operate on 10% of what is required for today’s buses and trains. What’s more, solar panels mounted above the rails would gather all energy needed to power the system.

Mass Transit WiFi’s Role in the Transportation Technology of the Future

Within our lifetimes, cars will be automated. The Internet will connect people, organizations, infrastructure, and things, including cars, trains, and buses. Today, mass transit WiFi is already providing benefits to passengers and operators. As tomorrow’s innovations come online, public transit WiFi will be a basic expectation. Passengers of the future will expect mobile WiFi, much as we expect individual lights and fans on airplanes. To keep high-speed, eco-friendly transportation pods in communication with travel hubs, operators will rely on wireless connectivity.

[Photo by ABB Schweiz via CC License]