When it comes to advancements in transportation, it seems that everyone wants to get into the market in order to be the first to revolutionize the way we think of travel. The societal benefits to overhauling the way standard transportation works is huge, not to mention the millions of deaths that could be avoided if there was somehow a new way of traveling from one destination to the other.
Tesla Motors was perhaps the first company to delve into a more advanced design when it came to vehicles meant for the road, but the price tag involved with a Tesla automobile is enough to keep regular consumers out of the loop. In the meantime, Google unveiled a self-driving car project back in 2009 that had people wondering whether or not the newest car inventors would be more in the computer programming field. However, Google has already come out stating that they won’t be entering the car business, and will most likely only design the systems within the vehicles rather than the entire automobile.
Although the world may not be at the level of The Jetsons just yet, there have been some advancements in transportation that have already been released or unveiled for future production. Some of these technological and aesthetic improvements are slated to drastically change the way the world travels from one point to another, to make going to work a whole new experience. Check out our list of the 15 latest and greatest advancements in transportation, and see how each entry will take you further down the rabbit hole.
15. Maserati Ghibli Hearse
The public has always been fascinated with the vehicle that makes the trip to a person’s final destination, whether it was the Munster’s koach or the Ghostbusters Ecto-1. In a world obsessed with luxury items, it should come as no surprise that even a hearse has been upgraded to meet luxury standards. Ellena, an Italian custom car fabricator, has done this type of upgrade before, but it’s the first time it was done to transform the Maserati Ghibli into a hearse. Ellena chopped off the backside of the vehicle in order to create the extended cab, and inserted an over-sized top to accommodate the extra load. The result is an ultra chic hearse that is like nothing else seen on the road. While it remains questionable on whether or not a funeral home would actually go for an idea like this, that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t appeal to a private collector. The sleek design signature to the Maserati brand and the elongated backside looks futuristic and completely unique. While it may not be right for the average soccer mom, it is definitely an upgrade for anyone traveling to their final destination.
14. Nissan Leaf 2.0
With so much attention on low emission vehicles, the race to build a long range electric car is one that Nissan is intended to win. The current Nissan Leaf already features a 24-kWh battery, but the carmaker revealed an amped up version at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. More than doubling the battery capacity, the new Nissan Leaf 2.0 features an impressive 60 kWh battery. More than doubling the driving power, this electric car will be able to handle even long range driving, with something around 210 to 220 miles before needing a charge. The model that was showcased gave car enthusiasts a sneak peek at what the exterior changes will be moving forward. It included a more aerodynamic design, with cut-like features to give it a sleeker look. Slated to revolutionize the Nissan brand, the new Leaf should be up and running in full production by the year 2018.
13. Tesla Model 3
As one of the car industry’s leaders in electric vehicles, Tesla has been pushing the electric car movement for years. While it once seemed like a thing of dreams, it is now finally reaching the stages right before hitting dealerships. The Tesla Model 3 is the most sought-after design, since it doesn’t have that high of a pricetag. Slated to be around $35,000, the Model 3 is quite affordable compared to some of the other Tesla creations and competitor brands. It will have an impressive 215 mile range before needing a charge, and features rear-wheel-drive capability. There are already around 400,000 pre-orders for this particular model, and the company plans on it being available as early as 2017. Hoping to solve the world’s energy crisis, Elon Musk has been a leader in this revolution against dependence on foreign oil. This Model 3 might be the most common thing seen on the road in the next few years.
12. Audi Avatar
When contemplating cars from the 1930s, you wouldn’t think there would be any with a design that would be considered “futuristic.” Yet, the 1937 Auto Union Type C Streamline racing car was exactly that. The bubbled look and the seemingly hovering design was something that was truly unique in its time, but perfect for those looking to revolutionize the way cars look on the road for the future. Australian designer, Edwin Conan, drew on this 1937 design to create the Audi Avatar Concept. It has a similar aerodynamic frame that gives it a look that appears to have no wheels, but it has been amplified to create a sleeker design. While it only seats three, it has a long range battery that boasts four in-wheel electric motors. With the ability to go from zero to 100 km in under three seconds, the goal of the Audi Avatar is to give drivers a newfound love of being on the road. Meant to feel like a race car, it can reach speeds of more than 360 kilometers an hour. The car is slated to be in full production by 2032.
11. The Sealander
With the craze over tiny homes and multifunction furniture, it shouldn’t surprise people that a company would come out with a versatile camper. Combining a small living space with the ability to travel seems right up the alley for adventure seekers, and that’s exactly what they got with the Sealander. This German engineered structure combines the manufacturing process from boatbuilding with the construction of a luxury car. The interior is fully customizable, and is perfect for those that want a minimalist look or those that want something all-inclusive. On its own, the Sealander is a camper that can give a reprieve from the outdoors when out on an adventure, but can be hitched to the car and towed along with ease. It floats on the water like a boat, and features an electric motor to let you travel on the water without ever having to lift a paddle. There are a few price points you can stick to, since much of the camper is customizable, but you can generally expect to pay around $20,000.
10. The Icon A5
Recognizing the fact that not all air travel has to be a long and tedious endeavor, the Icon A5 was created to put recreation and entertainment into the friendly skies. Anyone willing to pay the $195,000 price tag can purchase this recreational plane, but operators must have a “Sport Pilot” license approved by the FAA. It is technically categorized as a “light sport plane,” but it’s unlike other planes typically thought of when considering a smaller design. The retractable wings actually fold into themselves so that the plane can be neatly tucked into a standard-sized garage. Yet, this is not something that you’ll want to tuck away. Built for adventure, the Icon A5 has a custom towing trailer that can be used behind your vehicle. This allows pilots to take their plane to whatever take-off location they desire, and the Seawings water platforms even let it land in water. Whether you’re traveling to the beach for a day out or going from one side of the bay to the other, the Icon A5 is the new face of leisure and luxury in the skies.
9. 2016 Audi RS7
Not all cars are made the same, which is evident with the 2016 Audi RS7. The exclusivity of this vehicle ensures it will be rarely seen on the road, and only a select few even know about its specific make and model. While it has a sleek design, it’s actually quite roomy and can seat an extra tall person comfortably, even in the back seat. It features 20-inch wheels, LED running lights, and oval exhaust tips. The power of the V-8 engine is astounding, and can give race drivers a run for their money with an impressive zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.5 seconds. The technical part comes with the power braking system, since the self-braking system operates similar to what will undoubtedly be seen in future autonomous vehicles. While the safety features are perfect for families, the race car design and super speed make it great for men and women of all ages.
8. 2016 Chevrolet Camaro V6
Previous car models used to thrill consumers with just the thought of built-in navigation systems or Bluetooth, but nowadays those features often come standard. The newest development in automobiles is the integration of Wi-Fi. It seems like everyone on Earth is connected to the Internet, whether it’s people walking down the street staring only at their phones or the toddler playing educational games on their tablets. The ability to have Wi-Fi inside the car is a great way to entertain kids on long car rides, and check emails without burning through your data. The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro V6 seems to be the frontrunner when it comes to integrating technology into the car, with an 8-inch dashboard screen that has a variety of different apps already installed. The dash works very much like the touchscreen to the latest smartphone, so the driver (and passengers) can access everything from maps to Facebook.
Ever since Marty McFly was seen zooming around on a hoverboard in Back to the Future II, the world became transfixed with the idea of traveling around without ever touching the ground. While the actual skateboard-shaped hoverboard has yet to be perfected, the race is on to develop a similar product: the hoverbike. British inventor, Colin Furze, uploaded a four-part series video to YouTube where he actually shows how to build a hoverbike from scratch. While Furze’s design was a bit crude (involving a few downward-facing fans), it did show how the concept could be realized. Other companies are also trying their hand at the hoverbike, with the most advanced being the Aero-X bike. It can hover above ground for up to 10 feet, can seat 2 people, and can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour. For those looking to include a hoverbike to their garage collection, the purchase price is listed at a mere $85,000.
6. Transit Elevated Bus
Leave it to the world’s most populated country to find an innovative solution to cramped traffic conditions and modified public transportation. The 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo in March of 2016, the latest innovation in public transportation was unveiled to the public. The Transit Elevated Bus will be the go-to standard for public transportation in China and beyond. Rather than spending the millions to overhaul, maintain, or create new subway systems, the elevated system costs far less and helps to alleviate congestion on the roads. It is an electric-powered bus that runs on rails above the tops of regular vehicles on the road. It maximizes the road space, bypasses traffic, and encourages people to use public transportation. Each unit can carry 1,200 passengers, which makes regular buses a thing of the past. Construction is already underway, and engineers are slated to have testing and availability complete by as early as the next two years.
5. Volkswagen Hover Car
The 2012 “People’s Car Project” in Beijing, China opened the door to new innovations in automobiles. One of the participants began making huge waves when photos and even a concept video was released online. The Volkswagen Hover Car is like nothing else seen on the road, with a spherical shape that floats in the air. It seats two passengers, and doesn’t have a steering wheel like in the traditional sense. Instead, it has a lever that can be moved in all directions to guide the vehicle, and a button that turns it on and off. After it’s turned on, the vehicle lifts off up to two feet off the ground and uses electromagnetic power to hover. It can be set to auto mode or driven manually, but there are a number of safety controls in place to minimize the chance of an accident. Automatic speed reduction occurs when the vehicle detects nearby dangers, and sensors are embedded in the system’s controls to ensure a safe ride.
4. Volvo Concept 26
Getting ready for when the world makes the jump into autonomous driving, which Volvo predicts should be around the year 2035, the car company has unveiled their Concept 26 interior design. The interior was first debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2015, and focused primarily on the comfort and multifunction properties of the chairs. Although the car will have autopilot capabilities, it’s the attention given to the chairs that were the true highlight of the demonstration. Future seats could include massage rollers, pneumatic side bolsters, and adjustability to custom cradle the driver and passengers. The seats will have the ability to morph into different shapes: Drive, Create, and Relax. The reclining feature leans the chair back, while a footrest comes up for added support. Pop-up television screens come alive at the touch of a button, and there is even a work surface that is embedded into the door to create a usable office space while driving.
3. Chevrolet FNR
Unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Chevrolet FNR is what a modern day Batmobile would look like if Bruce Wayne was looking for an upgrade. While it may not have machine guns built into the hood, it certainly has the same aesthetic appeal that would drive any other consumer. It is a sedan that comfortably seats four, and features scissor-like doors that open upwards. There is a 3D monitor that acts as the dashboard for an even heightened futuristic approach, and a ball structure in between the two front seats is the way the driver controls the vehicle. When the driver enables the autopilot feature, the front seats turn around to face the rear passengers. The interior design is perfect for interacting or just relaxing, while the vehicle drives itself. The car is still in the development phase, but has been slated to be fully operational in the next fifteen years. The rest of the world will have to evolve to get ready for this new technological marvel, since Chevrolet has already envisioned that the FNR will have the ability to be sent off on errands without anyone inside the vehicle. Perhaps grocery stores will have to enable some sort of curbside pickup for customers that send their cars.
2. Mercedes-Benz F015
The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion is a car that looks like it comes right out of a science fiction film, from its sleek design to its aesthetic lighting features. The exterior looks more like a rocket ship than a car, and the inside has the feel of a luxury lounge. The floor is made of open-pore walnut wood, the seats are made from ultra soft nappa leather, and the side panels are made of Plexiglass. The panels allow riders to interact using gestures and touchscreen technology, while all the chairs can pivot to face one another if desired. It runs on pure electric power with zero local emissions, and can run as an autonomous car. During slow-moving traffic or other situations that don’t require a driver’s attention, the car operates on its own. This leaves the driver the ability to interact with the other passengers, and become a mobile living space rather than simply just a means of transportation.
1. Terrafugia TF-X
While it may seem like the stuff of dreams and blockbuster films, a company founded in 2006 has claimed to be able to release the first flying car by the year 2025. It seems strange that the world could be zipping through the air without the requirement of a pilot’s license in less than 10 years, but it is already in the works. Founding by students of MIT’s Aeronaturics and Astronautics’ department, Terrafugia is the company that has created the TF-X. It’s small enough to neatly fit into a standard-sized garage, can take off and land anywhere, has a cruise speed of 200 miles per hour, has a 500 mile range, and has computer controls that allow drivers to get to their destination with just a touch of a button. Made with a hybrid electric design, it can be driven on land and then propeller wings expand out to allow for take-off. The company is currently in talks with the FAA to create the guidelines required to take traveling to the skies at the fingertips of anyone that can afford their very own flying car.