Transport of the XXI century: is the speed secondary?

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future city. Date:26.05.2008, 21:57.

What is the difference between the speeds with which the vehicle is traveling, if we are all the same not able to move instantly? So, maybe it makes sense to approach the solution of transport problems from the other side?

At all times, the inventors of vehicles competed against each other: who is faster. It was until they buried in the natural barriers of highways throughput, safety, ecology, etc. To overcome them the authors of numerous transportation concepts are now working that are designed to relieve traffic congestion on the city, and residents – from the hustle of the transport, noise and exhaust gases (see, for example, conference materials Global Innovations Outlook, on the initiative of IBM).The developers traditionally do not forget to increase the speed of motion parameters: up to two hundred, three hundred, and even, in some projects, up to four hundred kilometers per hour.

But if we still do not know how to move in space instantly, maybe it makes sense to approach the problem from the other end? Let’s “construct” the transportation system, in which the rate of movement is not the most important factor. For many passengers the slower routes are preferably than faster ones.

No matter how high the speed of the vehicle, a passenger in any case is “withdrawn” from the process of life while he is on the trip. Yes, he can go deep into a newspaper / book, make some calls, listen to music, watch a movie on his media player, think or sleep. But all the same trip is forced to choose the least tiring way to kill time.

An alternative idea is to provide the passenger during the trip is almost full opportunity to work, learn, play and communicate.

Let us not dream in vain, on what technological basis the idea will actually be implemented. Perhaps the people of the future will learn to go into virtual reality during the forced “down time”, or to visit friends and business partners as a holographic projection. It’s not about technology, but in principle, which can be realized even in the current technology basis: wireless Internet + flat seamless “video walls” + generators of smells – as soon as these components are improved and become cheaper enough to find widespread use in suburban and urban passenger lines.

As the framework of the transport project I’ll venture to use the well-known concept of automatic personal transport, which is still painfully gaining ground. I am attracted in such projects as SkyTaxi, «Transcar”, etc. with the successful combination of the merits of public and personal transports:

  • distance from the office or apartment to the nearest station of departure – no more than three hundred, four hundred feet;
  • people will move in automatic wagons, as in a taxi – alone or in small companies of four or five people familiar with each other – and nothing else;
  • «Your” trailer using a network of radial and circular lines, will choose the best, no traffic jams, route to your goal.

On the one hand, what I propose, would complicate the practical implementation of automated personal transport projects, requiring:

  • wide video infrastructure in the residential, business, culture and entertainment sector;
  • adaptation of occupational, recreational, educational, social and other Internet services to the specific needs of the “automatic” passengers.

On the other hand, adding to the transport unit the communicational one, in my opinion, will facilitate the marketing promotion of the concept of automated personal transport. After all, in fact, when we dream of a “future without traffic jams”, we need a “future without loss of time.”

Thus, automatic traffic frees hands and brains of the traveler for some activities during the trip, and at the same time saves him from unknown fellow travelers. Here are a few examples of the use of the proposed transport and communication systems.

Jobs. A typical office scene near future: you are talking in the office with a colleague (a partner, customer, boss). In the midst of the dialogue you take a look at the clock and rise from a chair, continuing the conversation as if nothing had happened. Your interlocutor is not offended: he does the same dozens of times a day. Stepping out the door, you hit a specially-programmed button on your phone. In the office you left behind “video wall” is switched on. Your colleague (client, partner) will communicate with you through its audiosystem, and you with him – through the stereo font type. After a three hundred feet you take place in a free automatic car and press the same magic button on your phone. The “video wall” is switched on in the car at full height, and your colleague (partner, client, boss) – is again with you, like four minutes ago. A few seconds later you will forget that you are separated with high-definition video.

How long do you have enough energy to talk on the phone? And in a large format video channel you will be able to engage in dialogue, as in ordinary life, as long as necessary. Because you’ll get a full stream of non-verbal visual information, which is 90% of usual human communication.

When you finish talking (a car – still on the way), you make some videovisits in friendly companies – in this case during the negotiations the documentation pertaining to this contact will be automatically loaded from the smartphone on a fragment of “video wall” (we’ll talk about security at the end of post) .

As you can see, all the communication devices are easy, auto manually synchronized with reality and with each other. This is a necessary condition for the principle of continuity of life. All that is required from the user is to authorize the automatic switching from device to device, from service to service (or not authorize).At the same time to continue work / communication / entertainment literally “at the touch of a button” is important principally. It follows logically from the idea of continuity of life which is bad compatible with all these current protracted “Connect”, “logins”, “service reconfiguration”, “download applications and files,” etc.

Oh, I almost forgot to add a nice touch. I believe that many companies with a time-based pay in long run will include employee travel time along the route “home-work-home” in his total working time. This implies that, while in the car unattended after 9:00 and before 18.00, the employee must be ready to meet an urgent request of the authorities. And if that is not followed, he is free to use the travel time for personal development or leisure.

Education, counsulting. The development of alternatives training courses, seminars, personal and business consultations will be included in normal practice. Programs of different duration (15, 20, 30 minutes, hour, etc.) will vary by the amount and intensity of the sessions, the logic of the material, methods of teaching, but in any case they will provide the same end results. The passengers of different transport routes will choose the appropriate format for training in time.

A useful technical trick – “videoprism” will appear: visualization system will collect some video channels into one that creates on-screen illusion that collective training participants seat in a circle.

Entertainment. I think that the developers of entertainment services will take care of synchronizing devices even before the creators of business services. And the user, coming out of the car after a short walk to his apartment, will be able to continue the game or watching a movie at home from the very spot where stood at the end of the trip only by push of a button.

Starting out at a party, a disco, a club, restaurant, etc. we’ll be able still on the way to plunge into the atmosphere and the smells of the holiday, to communicate with our friends through the video channel. And even to dance with all the hall: your incendiary “pa”, thanks to the “video wall” established in the entertainment center, will not go unnoticed by visitors. You may ask: what would happen if the number of people willing to join the virtual party exceeds the “bandwidth” of “video walls”? They’ll, in fact, not rubber. There are two possible solutions: either to scale the video “virtual visitors” to decrease or to display on the forefront those who are dancing and talking less standard (with the help of system identification of dynamic images.) It’s prettier for me the second option because it gives the choice: if you want, you may “join the party” to the fullest, if no, you’ll “hide” behind other “virtual guests” drawn into a holiday in a comfortable pace for yourself.

I’m sure many of us will take advantage of the opportunity to visit as a “virtual guest” places that we are not able to attend in person, be it the Louvre, Buckingham Palace, Mount Fuji, the carnival in Brazil, the Amazon jungle, the streets of the capital the next World Cup, etc . It will be more interesting than to use the current weak-eyed street webcams or photos from space. In museums, the sound of the “virtual guests” will be turned off, at carnivals – turned on.

Communication. We’ll be able to communicate more often not only with members of our social networks and business partners, but also with the closest people. With your father and mother, while they are alive, with your child until he started using drugs, with school friends, as long as you remember their names. You complain that you have no time for these dear people? Now it is your will. The only restriction will be the restriction of handshakes and hugs.

Life. I think that interfaces will be created to interact with remote appliances, not only through the smartphone, but also through two-way video channel – and you will be able directly during a travel to turn on the lights in your apartment, inspect the rooms, if found the spring drops under the sink – to call a plumber, run automatic vacuum cleaner in the living room, turn on the tape with your favorite album, open the refrigerator in the kitchen, to assess what you want at the moment – and bring the refrigerator compartment, if desired, in the microwave regime. While your arrival dinner will be ready, flat swept, and the duty plumber will wait at the door.

And if you just want to sit down and think? No problem – just disable “video wall.” Or set it to demonstrate whizzing behind urban landscapes. And even better – natural landscapes in different parts of the Earth (the Moon, Mars …). Okay, let’s make a second attempt to turn off the screen and “just sit, think.” Tune into the inner dialogue. And to bring it more benefits – activate “Mental trainer”, which I have recently invented specially for this project. By the way, here’s another version of the simulator.

So you are considering some kind of problem. The simulator scans your brain activity – and provides the ability to assign any thoughts on which you focus, a particular graphic symbol. You can place your symbols on the screen of the simulator in any order, linking them into the scheme, if you want – remove the “extra” symbols and add the missing ones. The mental trainer will signal each time you try to think about already “rejected” idea, or similar to it for some encephalographic parameters, unknown to you. The simulator can also “encourage” you with nice music. For example, for every new idea, that is significantly different from the thoughts- symbols, already introduced in the simulator. Or, say, for the observance of the harmony forward and backward linkages in the logic circuit. Different tasks will have different stimulus.

And if you want to just sit and think, without any gadgets? Who can object! By the way, if described here transport and communications system came in one night, the next morning 90% of passengers would still sadly look out the window of the car. Fortunately, the system will be introduced by fragments – with a gradual (and irreversible) involvement in her separate routes, services, categories of passengers. The very introduction will take considerable time, as will require substantial changes in the way of life of citizens. But it’s worth it: the win is huge savings of personal and business time.

On information security. If this project scares you risk to personal and corporate information, I’ll tell you “irresponsibly”: somehow all settled down. How was settled with the mobile communication, as settles with wireless internet access. Of course, the notorious secret services, mafia or competitors could use against you any technical achievement in the field of communications. But if you have enemies, you’ll take care of your security – if not, then whom we will need among millions of other users of transport and communication systems? Do not agree? Then present me your cell phone.

About traffic safety. In the event of an accident “video wall” does not break into a thousand fragments, but hangs in a special wire.

On the vandalism. If you try to break the “video wall” of hooliganism or out of hatred for his companion, the car doors are locked.

PS: Let me remind you the thing is not in the technology, but in principle, to use them. You can mean by “video walls” whatever suits you more: even holographic projections, even “astral-induction out of the body”.

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