“My dreams are my dress rehearsals for my future” was a famous quote by world-famous illusionist David Copperfield. When it comes to automobile technology there is no dearth of radical innovation which has successfully taken off from the drawing board and found its way into mass production. Most of these advances are classified as Disruptive Innovations because in foreseeing the limited scope of technology that is currently dominating the market, Disruptive Innovation provides us with alternatives, which we can switch over to in creating new markets, products and possibilities.
Let us take a look at some these innovations which appear to be the most promising in nature. Have you ever heard of a car that runs on air? Well, Zero Pollution Motors have created just that and called it the AIRPod. It works on the concept of storing compressed air in pressurized tanks, this air is then allowed to expand in propulsion chambers, which expand to get work done. The Standard AIRPod seats three, produces about 7kW of power and reach speeds of up to 80km/hr. Petrol Pumps are already equipped with air compressing machines to fill tyres, to facilitate the AIRPod however, larger capacity air compression machines will be needed to refill these vehicles. Imagine the kind of good it will do to divert the revenue countries spend on drilling, transporting and refining crude oil, towards something more constructive for its people, it would revolutionize the future as we know it.
Hyperloop is another proposed technology for the transportation of passengers and other cargo. The design consists of a pod propelled through a tube by adjusting the pressure difference on either side while the pod runs on magnetic levitation guiderails. Though maintaining a vacuum in these tubes over large distances may prove to be a challenge, it is estimated these pods could reach speeds of up to 1200km/hr. This would translate into people travelling at jet speed across the world, without the need of jet fuel. Imagine the 1142km people travel by flight from Mumbai to Delhi is a little over two hours. This distance passengers travelling via Hyperloop would cover in just under an hour. Owing to the large budget involved in developing this technology, this concept is open-sourced by SpaceX and Musk who have already taken this idea into further development, while the Elon Musk-backed Hyperloop initiative plans to provide intercity travel in 17 countries with 35 intercity routes from which India is assigned five, estimated to be launched by 2020.
When it comes to the efficiency of heat engines, it is proven that these can never be 100% efficient because the second law of thermodynamics puts a fundamental limit on their efficiency, regardless of their construction. Considering hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, fueling vehicles by using electrolysis to generate hydrogen from water is an ideal way to harness sustainable energy. At the Israel Institute of Technology, they have developed a method to obtain hydrogen from water at 100% efficiency. So with all the energy going into the input, coming out at the output, the process is emission free.
Other innovations in the pipeline include, Automated Parking developed by Audi, which uses the laser guided sensing in parking facilities to determine a vacant parking space along with the directions to get to that spot. This translates into a person, simply stepping out of their car, while the car takes off without any driver or valet to park itself. When it comes to maneuverability, Toyota has developed a Vehicle Dynamics Management system for its Lexus GS 430 which employs Active Steering to keep the driver from counter-steering when it has to correct a potential spin that comes from driving on slippery surfaces. Unlike conventional stability controls systems where Engine Management and Antilock Braking sends power to the wheels which have traction, VDM uses steer-by-wire technology to send steering inputs to the wheels, which in addition to stability control, helps keep the vehicle on track. Flying cars are also something of the very near future. Before 2020 comes to pass, the world will see AeroMobil and Terrafugia launch their fully fledged commercial flying cars. To obtain a license to fly the AeroMobil 3.0, one would require to have a minimum 25 flying hours. The AeroMobil 3.0 has a top speed of 200km/hr. If this were available today, you would be able to travel to work without being hindered by traffic, you could even travel to your favourite domestic holiday destination in record time without even going to the airport and waiting an hour or two just to check in.
It must be noted that most of the technology cited here is in its nascent stage and requires expensive infrastructure and networking, along with trial and testing before it is made available to the general populace but fueled by the spirit of such disruptive innovation is also the Bajaj Qute, which aims to revolutionize public urban commuting by being India’s first quadricycle, which is not only the most fuel-efficient four-wheeler with a low carbon emission of 36gm/km but also has the smallest turning radius of 3.5m for superior maneuverability. Where the Bajaj Qute stands out in all this is that, the Qute is available to you today as a solution to curb the congestion and pollution that is affecting every city in India and around the world. So we request all you readers who are for global and national progress to continue showing your support to #FreeTheQute