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.
This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, examines how driverless cars, trucks, semis, delivery vehicles, drones, and other UAVs are poised to unleash a new level of automation in the enterprise. Few technologies have been more anticipated heading into the 2020s than autonomous vehicles. Tantalizingly close and yet still perhaps decades from market adoption in some use cases, the technology is as promising as it is misunderstood. You've heard the consumer hype, but what gets less ink are the transformative changes that autonomous vehicles will bring -- in some cases already are bringing -- to the enterprise. Affecting sectors as disparate as shipping and logistics, energy, agriculture, transportation, construction, and infrastructure -- to name just a few -- it's hard to overstate the impact of the diverse and versatile set of technologies lumped into the decidedly broad category of'autonomous vehicles'. This guide will help you sort the hype from the business reality and tell you all you need to know about the autonomous vehicle revolution on the ground, in the air, and even at sea. In 1939, General Motors predicted we'd have an autonomous vehicle highway system up and running by the dawn of the 1960s. As with a lot of autonomous vehicle hype, that prediction was a tad premature, but it demonstrates the long history of autonomous vehicle development.
Is Hyperloop the future of travel? This ebook, based on a special feature from ZDNet and TechRepublic, looks at emerging autonomous transport technologies and how they will affect society and the future of business. Hyperloop is a new form of ground transport currently in development by a number of companies, which could see passengers travelling at 700 miles an hour in floating pods within low-pressure tubes. There are two big differences between Hyperloop and tradition rail. The pods carrying passengers travel through tubes or tunnels from which most of the air has been removed to reduce friction. This should allow the pods to travel at up to 750 miles per hour. Rather than using wheels like a train or car, the pods are designed to float on air skis, using the same basic idea as an air hockey table, or use magnetic levitation to reduce friction.
Autonomous technology continues to make an impact on the supply chain. The autonomous supply chain, as I am writing about it here, applies to moving goods without human intervention (to some degree at least). One of the more interesting examples I have seen is from the Belgian brewery De Halve Maan, which in an effort to reduce congestion on the city streets, built a beer pipeline under the streets. The pipeline is capable of carrying 1,500 gallons of beer an hour at 12 mph to a bottling facility two miles away. As we've written about here quite often, autonomous technology is mainly seen in warehouses, on highways, and in last mile deliveries.