Thirty years ago, we wondered if today’s world would have flying cars, hover boards, and a sports almanac that would change the sports-betting industry forever — at least that’s what “Back to the Future” told us. While those things haven’t exactly come to fruition, it seems like the only thing limiting the travel of the future is our collective imagination. Here’s a taste of what travel could look like in the not-so-distant future:
Civilians in space: Space tourism, the final frontier, is on the horizon. Although certain Russians will happily shuttle you into space for a $20 million, Virgin Galactic, which is bankrolled by Richard Branson, plans to launch commercial flights into space when 1,000 passengers shell out the $250,000 fee. Boeing’s also revealed an interest in space travel, with flights scheduled for 2016. While we don’t know the price yet, we don’t expect to be writing about any space flight deals any time in the near future.
Trains that travel faster than airplanes: This Chinese-designed train travels three times faster than a commercial jet at about 1,800 mph. A train this fast could cut the travel time from NYC to Miami down to a mere 45 minutes.
Cars without drivers: Google has been operating driverless cars for 15 years in documenting street corners around the world — and they’re incredibly safe. In fact, Google’s self-driving car recently passed 700,000 accident-free miles. Its cars can also avoid cyclists, stop at railroad tracks, and see up to 200 yards ahead — making it much more powerful than the human eye. How does this impact you? Today’s Google mapping technology could be tomorrow’s road trip navigation.
A watch that does much more than tell time: Siri, step aside. Within the next 10 years, we should see a large growth in personalized virtual assistants that suggest restaurants and activities that cater to our interests. This miniature, wearable technology — probably in the form of a watch — will provide feedback or even holographic displays of maps or neighborhoods.
Elevators… into space: Now here’s an elevator you really don’t want to get stuck on. A Japanese construction company has decided to design a space elevator by 2050, taking riders up 60,000 miles via an electric cable.