by RAKSHA DONDAPATI Staff Writer
The types of cars we have only heard about in science fiction are slowly becoming a reality as manufacturers are creating innovations society has dreamed about.
There are many new and unique vehicles, but perhaps the most recognizably futuristic is the flying car.
A Manhattan aerospace firm, Terrafugia, is planning on putting the their new vehicle, the Transition, on sale in 2015.
The Transition is half-sedan and half-jet. It has two seats, four wheels, and wings that can be folded when driving the Transition on the road. It also has a propeller behind the cockpit.
The Transition does need a runway to take off, but Terrafugia has plans for a TF-X model that will not need a runway.
“I feel that the prospect of a flying car will revolutionize our world in the area of transportation. I can only imagine it being available to very wealthy people at first, but once it becomes cheaper, it should be an epic invention,” said freshman Melissa Barnes.
The Transition is quite expensive, as it will cost about $300,000.
Flying cars are pretty intriguing, but what about cars that drive themselves?
Google has been using artificial intelligence software that can sense the environment around a car, allowing it to make decisions that a human driver would.
So far, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without assistance and 140,000 miles with occasional intervention. In total, they have driven over 700,000 miles.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, predicts that driverless cars will be on sale in about five years.
The software has been praised for the possibilities it presents for diminishing the amount of accidents and cases of drinking and driving that occur, as well as the possibilities for those who are blind or have other disabilities.
“I think [this car is] a good thing in case the person driving needs back-up if something happens. It can also prevent accidents from occurring, since the human driver wouldn’t make any blunders,” said freshman Sharika Kaul.
Another innovation is a car that actually runs on air. French manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen revealed that their Hybrid Air will be in production by 2016.
The car functions partially on air, containing a pressurized steel tank filled with about 20 liters of nitrogen and hydraulic fluid. Energy is recovered every time the driver brakes or decelerates, and is then compressed in a hydraulic pump to be released when the driver accelerates.
It is estimated to cost about $26,000.
“This is actually a really cool idea. It is eco-friendly and would probably help to preserve oil. I think it’s a great idea and I hope it comes out soon. I think that all of these car ideas are exceptional. They are all pretty awesome, and seem like they could help society. It’s pretty amazing what the future has in store in terms of new vehicles,” said an anonymous student.
There is an increasing amount of new car models that have been envisioned for a very long time, and some society hasn’t even thought about. Whether they are airborne, driverless, air-fueled, or have some other high-tech feature, there is no doubt that we are entering a new era when it comes to cars.
Which futuristic car are you most excited about?
Google car that drives itself
Peugeot Hybrid Air