[extropy-chat] Emlyn mentioned flying cars....
emlynoregan at gmail.com
Sun Mar 19 01:34:08 UTC 2006
The high construction costs is of course a big problem. I think it
sits poorly with the way modern western countries work. If you want to
pay for something like this, you need to have a decentralised model,
where the technology necessitates the individual user paying, instead
of a big centralised payment.
So what about some kind of system based on inexpensive infrastructure,
and expensive cars? Maybe you have something very like standard roads,
but with whatever extra is necessary for some level of centralised
automated control (so some communications stuff). Then, you release a
standard of the level of vehicle that is allowed on that road - it
must have certain automation features, certain safety features, top
speed in some fantastically high range, etc etc etc. You make a
standardisation body for these vehicles (your vehicles is certified
"zoooom" compliant level 2, etc).
These cars would be expensive. Expensive. But then, there would be
people who'd go for it because they are convenient, they give you
functionality you didn't have before (much faster inter-city travel),
one assumes they'd have high status (you'd have to push for that from
You see, I think people hate paying for expensive infrastructure
through taxes, and they hate paying for expensive tickets on
public-transport-like transport modes (like inter-city flights on
planes). But, people love love love to spend money on their cars.
Can this work? Can you have a low cost infrastructure and high cost
privately constructed vehicles, still compatible with normal roads,
and use (high!) minimum vehicle standards on the special infrastucture
to give us user-pays fast inter-city travel?
http://emlynoregan.com * blogs * music * software *
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On 16/03/06, Robert Bradbury <robert.bradbury at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 3/14/06, Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:
> > You know, the long haul travel problem doesn't just have to be solved
> > by airflight. The problem is to travel from city to city quickly, with
> > minimum fuss at either end, and hopefully with your car with you when
> > you get to the destination.
> Emlyn, there are already long haul transport systems implemented. The TGV
> in France cruises at 300+ km/h and can reach 500+ km/h. The Shanghai Maglev
> train (from the Pudong airport to Shanghai proper cruises at 354 km/h (max:
> 434 km/h)) but web articles argue that it is losing a lot of money doing so
> given its construction cost. I don't think you are going to get much above
> those speeds, particularly for longer distances without an evacuated tunnel.
> These have been discussed for a long time. I think I've seen a TV show
> (Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel?, etc.) regarding one that
> people have thought about across/under the Atlantic Ocean (presumably
> something like NY to London). Nanomaterials would be nice but it could
> probably be done using current materials. The basic problem is construction
> cost. *That* in turn relates significantly to labor cost. I've never seen
> any cost estimates for a transatlantic evacuated Maglev train tunnel built
> using nanotechnology (carbon nanotubes, nanorobotic assemblers, etc.). It
> wouldn't be "free" but it would be very interesting to see the capital costs
> based on Drexler's $0.5/kg for the tunnel & the trains and the operating
> costs on a per trip basis (how efficient can nanotechnology really get for
> accelerating and decelerating large objects?).
> Of couse you *could* go faster in planes. I recall with some fondness in my
> younger days (:-)) watching the big LED display at the front of the
> passenger section of the Concorde (now no longer flying :-() hit Mach 1.0,
> then slowly climbed up to 1.7, maybe even 2.0 (this was 20 or so years ago I
> think) -- so we have had the technology to make this happen for a very long
> time (construction of the first Concordes began over 40 years ago). Leaving
> aside the sonic boom question however, I think you would need to have very
> refined GPS positioning, good weather, esp. wind velocity, prediction,
> regional total aircraft route planning and collision avoidance systems in
> all aircraft before you started flitting around the country at Mach
> > How about some kind of automated mega-highway, where your car goes
> > onto remote pilot and proceeds at 300mph or so, fully automated, to
> > the other end? If it were enclosed (like a tunnel) obstacles like
> > wildlife wouldn't matter so much.
> You could easily drive a your low-velocity air-car onto a container-train
> (ferry?) in NY and off the train once it arrives in London. The only
> problem I foresee is having to rewire your brain to drive on the other side
> of the road twice a day for the NY<->London commuters.
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