I don’t think any of us could imagine modern life without the facility of travelling at speeds that would normally mash us into bright, red marmalade, if it wasn’t for our multi-ton suits of wheeled armour. Oh, I’m sorry, was that too convoluted? Well, I apologize; I just read some Fitzgerald. Basically, the ability to travel great distances at high speeds were instrumental in the development of society and our modern way of life. Although the concept is easy - put wheels on it and it’ll go faster, there are some real noteworthy innovations that got us moving people and products faster. Here are just a few.
If transportation was to give an awards speech, the wheel would definitely be included as the thing that made all of this possible. It’s round and rolls easily over obstacles like pesky pedestrians and slow moving cyclists. Thank you wheel for making vehicular manslaughter possible. Oh, and everything else.
For all the Back to the Future fans, remember in the last part of the first movie when Doc Brown puts garbage in the Delorean to power it? Granted, it turned garbage into nuclear energy, but there was similar technology used as far back as the early 1900s that took organic materials and made hydrogen. This unfortunately is an all but forgotten transportation innovation (wow, I kind of rhymed like a game show host there), that would fuel internal combustion engines with wood or other organic material. It was widely used during WW2 throughout Europe due to the rationing of fossil fuels, but was abandoned shortly after the war. If you have the energy (get it?) there has to be some sort of conspiracy regarding Big Oil somewhere in there, but I’m not even going to bother.
Electric/ Hybrid Cars
Kind of on the heels of the previous entry are cars that need no fossil-fuel or very little of it to work. That’s a far cry from the very first coal burning, steam powered automobile of 1769. What? Seriously? There was a car when Captain James Cook discovered New Zealand?! And in 1839 a Scotsman built an electric car?! As a reference that’s right around when the Prussian (today’s Germany, Poland, Denmark, Lithuania, Belgium and Czech Republic) government agreed to lower children’s work week to only 51 hours. Even the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had a freakin’ electric car. That’s how widely adopted it was until around the early 1900s when a gentleman (and should I add Nazi sympathizer) by the name of Henry Ford created the dino-juice burning, affordable and mass produced Model T. The rest is environmental catastrophe history.
Mag Lev trains
This is some of the futuristic sh*t I was looking forward to writing about! Oh and by the way, suck it wheel because not everything is about you! These types of trains are based on the forces of opposing magnets, which in all technicalities makes the train float. Look Ma’ no wheels! Because of that, it also needs a lot less energy to pick up speed and maintain it due to lack of frictional forces that traditional wheeled forms of transportation were subject too. Although currently there is only one in Germany, in China it should be widely adopted by 2030.
Are there any other noteworthy transportation innovations that you didn’t see on the list? Feel free to let me know in the comment section below, and feel free to follow me on Careeraddict.com.