Transportation, the industry that deals with the movement of commodities and passengers from one place to another, has gone through several studies, researches, trials, and refinements to reach where it is now. One of the major milestones in the history of transportation was the steamboat in the year 1787. Prior to this, people relied on animal-drawn carts for their commute. Thereafter, major breakthroughs that led to the growth of the transportation industry were the invention of bicycles (early 19th century), motor cars (in the 1890s), trains (19th century), and aircrafts (1903). Today, the transportation sector has evolved to a level where vehicles can navigate and move without any human assistance.
Articles about technology and the future of transportation rarely used to get far without mentioning jetpacks: a staple of science fiction from the 1920s onwards, the jetpack became a reality in the 1960s in the shape of devices such as the Bell Rocket Belt. But despite many similar efforts, the skies over our cities remain stubbornly free of jetpack-toting commuters. For a novel form of transport to make a material difference to our lives, several key requirements must be satisfied. Obviously the new technology must work safely, and operate within an appropriate regulatory framework. But public acceptance and solid business models are also vital if a new idea is to move from R&D lab to testbed to early adoption, and eventually into mainstream usage.
Articles about technology and the future of transportation rarely used to get far without mentioning jet-packs: a staple of science fiction from the 1920s onwards, the jet pack became a reality in the 1960s in the shape of devices such as the Bell Rocket Belt. But despite many similar efforts, the skies over our cities remain stubbornly free of jet-pack-toting commuters.
The NEXT Future Transportation module is a far cry from the sleek visions of self-driving cars designed by Tesla or Mercedes. With an average cruising speed of 20 kilometers per hour, the electric pods are unlikely to set pulses racing. But perhaps the most crucial distinction is that this self-driving vehicle is passenger ready. Following trials in 2018, several NEXT units are expected to be in action at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai, providing short-distance rides for some of the estimated 25 million visitors attending the six-month world fair. The Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has set the demanding target of having 25% of journeys in the city to be made through driverless transport by 2030 -- going beyond the existing driverless metro and monorail systems.