future-travel

Stephen Hawking asked: “If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” He makes a good point. While we probably won’t be travelling back in time to watch Elvis in concert any time soon, there are plenty of other developments to look forward to – we’ve picked out some of the most exciting.

1. Virtual Reality

While it’s already changed the way we watch television and play games, the explorative potential of VR is the next big thing. In 2016, Greenpeace teamed up with Alchemy VR to create an immersive experience of David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive, where users could virtually explore the underwater world of the coral reef alongside him. Similar tech companies have created the Grand Canyon Experience, allowing users to take part in a virtual kayak tour through the national park. There’s also Augmented Reality which takes these virtual experiences one step further, using force and vibrations to imitate different sensory experiences. While we’re not convinced it’ll ever beat the real thing, it does allow people to travel to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

2. Interlingual Communication

The English have a reputation for not speaking any languages other than their own. Pandering to fears of being stranded without the ability to communicate (and our laziness), Google, Timekettle, Waverly Labs, Lingmo International and Bragi are only a few of the technology companies that are competing to develop the first successful translation earpiece. When this highly specific piece of equipment will come out (or even be successful) is unclear, however, so keep that phrase book handy.

3. Flying Cars

Just as self-driving are being trialled, the Avengers of the tech world have assembled to boost the development of flying cars. Uber Technologies, Boeing Co. and Toyota Motor Corporation are just a few of the companies working together to make this sci-fi plot device a reality. Uber is also developing a city-based aviation product called Uber Air (essentially, flying taxis). Aside from being pretty cool, developers are hopeful that flying cars will help relieve traffic congestion, reduce pollution and lower the number of accidents.

4. Space Travel

The Space Race continues with pioneers in galactic travel desperately seeking to make space tourism a reality. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are just two of the major companies hoping to develop new spatial infrastructures and reduce the cost of travel beyond our atmosphere (but don’t expect easyJet fares just yet). Taking intergalactic travel to another strata, NASA and SpaceX have both expressed interest in colonising Mars.

5. Biometrics

Airport queues are the bugbear of travellers. Luckily for Londoners, Heathrow Airport is hoping to reveal a £50 million biometric project by summer 2019. The plans will reduce time and queueing in terminals by using facial recognition technology instead of manual checks, without the creepy retina-scans used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report. It’s hoped that this technology could reduce queuing time by two thirds.

6. Hyper-Speed

Since Japan unveiled the bullet train and the floating train, the race to develop the world’s fastest mode of transport has been fraught with anticipation and secrecy. Elon Musk’s futuristic Hyperloop – a super-fast transport system using travel pods in an air-evacuated tube – promises to take passengers from London to Edinburgh in just 50 minutes. Not to be outdone, Richard Branson has teamed up with Boom Supersonic to attempt at making supersonic flight a daily occurrence.

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