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Every day, the ways we travel are improving with many innovations that enhance travelling experiences across the world. In recent years, the way we travel has changed drastically: from GPS devices, e-tickets and ID chip for bag tracking, new technology has really benefited both the traveller and the travelling companies. But, here are four innovations that will completely transform travel, once they become standard.
While they haven’t yet become accessible to the masses, driverless cars are no longer a sci-fi gimmick and are being tested all over the world, in Australia and Germany for example. Earlier this year, the first smart shuttle was unveiled in Christchurch airport, where the autonomous vehicle was demonstrated. It can carry up to ten seated and five standing passengers. It’s fully electric with no steering wheel, and it follows pre-programmed routes. The shuttle can also make emergency stops. Driverless cars may one day offer a far safer experience as the technology develops. Driverless vehicles can respond to stimuli much quicker than human drivers in certain scenarios. Christchurch’s smart shuttle will be on closed roads in the airport to begin with. It’s expected that it will be more than a year before the shuttle is running on public roads.
When children fly alone from New Zealand, they can now receive the Airband monitoring bracelet at check-in. It will give parents and caregivers a piece of mind, as the wristband is embedded with a chip that sends notifications at different stages of the journey. The bracelet will be scanned at check-in, when boarding the plane, and when the child has landed, which will trigger text messages to the desired contact. This is the first time this type of technology has been used in an airline. It provides greater travelling safety for unaccompanied minors.
The hyperloop is a new transport project that will see passengers propelled at lightning speeds. Passengers would be whizzed through a low-pressurised tube system, and the aim is to use electricity generated from renewable sources. Elon Musk introduced the concept in 2013 and LA company Hyperloop One is working on the project. Earlier this year, Hyperloop One completed the first test run, which saw the vehicle achieve a speed of 70mph. It’s not just the US looking to create the first commercial Hyperloop, as many other countries are investing in Hyperloop projects, such as South Korea, China, India and Indonesia. If the Hyperloop happens, journey times would be drastically reduced. You could get to Edinburgh from London in 45 minutes, and LA to San Francisco would take around half an hour.
Thanks to a revolutionary new engine technology, flight times could soon be drastically cut down. Global civil aircraft company Airbus, has patented a hypersonic passenger plane, that has the kind of engine power that can soar above the atmosphere, while using regular take-offs. The design has a rocket engine, allowing it to travel at more than four times the speed of sound. This new innovation won’t be ready for at least 30-40 years, but it presents an exciting opportunity for extremely efficient air transport.
For travellers, the future could be very different when all these digital innovations are used regularly. The 21st century consumer expects a quality service that provides an instant experience, with access to unlimited information. The travel industry has had to adapt as the public’s expectations rise, and technological advances has helped accelerate the changes. Personalised trips are starting to take off and combined with these great innovations, the number of different travel opportunities will continue to grow.
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