From flying cars to faster-than-light travel – Hollywood's made it all. But there's more to quirky transport concepts than pipe dreams.
Here are five futuristic methods of transport that you could be riding in your lifetime. The morning commute will never be the same again.
Ever since we saw James Bond strap on a jetpack in Thunderball, we've dreamed of taking to the skies and defying gravity in a rocket pack. Thank the gadget gods for the New Zealand based Martin Aircraft Company then, which has created a gasoline-powered, fan-driven jetpack (sorry, no actual rockets here) that can manage 30mins of flight with a top speed of 75kmph.
Martin Aircraft has recently been given official permission to take to the skies with its prototype jetpack, which is expected to launch with a £97,000-£160,000 price tag. Time to start saving...
What could be dangerous about hurtling above the ground at 150mph in pods magnetically levitating above a monorail track? Well according to a company called Skytran, not a lot apparently. The futuristic maglev monorail is apparently cheaper to build than roads, trains or buses and uses hardly any energy thanks to a multitude of solar panels. Skytran is set to go live in Tel Aviv in 2014, so it might not be too long before you're softly swearing to yourself as you hurtle past the London Eye. Ah, the future.
More after the break...
Ever wanted to make tracks on the back of a Return of the Jedi-style hover bike? If so then California-based research group Aerofex is the company that you'll want to give a hug to. Capable of flying 15 feet in the air thanks to two giant fans, and with a top speed of 30mph, you'll be chasing down scout Stormtroopers in no time.
Well, once the bugs are ironed out – there were a few stability issues early on in 2008 when a test flight ended in flames – but it seems to be well on track for a stable release if the video above is anything to go by. Fingers crossed.
Remember Google's wondrous self-driving cars? Well, rumour has it that the Big G is looking into creating its own robo-taxi fleet in which self-driving cars will pick us all up and ferry us to our destinations – reducing the need for us to have our own cars. Google is also, according to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, in talks with car component supplier Continental to create a self-driving car system. Or you could just spring for the 2014 edition Volvo XC90 if patience isn't one of your strong suits.
If you thought the Skytran sounded crazy, then you ain't seen nothing yet. Tesla CEO Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept is designed to be capable of an insane top speed of 800mph, whooshing commuters from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Hyperloop consists of aluminium pods, travelling on skis which use air bearings (holes that pump out air) to reduce friction. Air will also be pumped along the tubes in the direction of travel at 200-300mph while a linear accelerator uses an electromagnetic pulse beneath the pods to shoot them along at high speeds. Here's how we think the Hyperloop could kick-start the green transport revolution.