It’s the final season of the Bright Futures section, so we’re creating four episodes focused on everything we’ve learned about the future of passenger transport. Starting with a quick point on each of the modes discussed in these columns.
Teleportation as a means of transport isn’t going to happen fast. It may not even happen before the impending climate catastrophe. It’s time to ask bigger questions on the subject.
If teleportation arrived on the market tomorrow, could we actually deploy globally? And if so, at what ecological cost? Because teleporting from your couch to your neighbour's while spending the energy production of a nuclear power plant isn’t exactly a progressive vision for the future.
Novels, television, cinema and even video games have gotten us used to the idea of teleportation. Despite this collective imagination, no one imagines actually travelling like this one day. However, researchers are working pretty hard on it…
Now that we've covered the meteoric rise and sudden disappearance of night trains, we have to question their eco credentials. Even if it’s generally accepted as a more sustainable option, we have to put it under the microscope in the same way as all the other forms of transport.
A revolutionary invention almost as old as the railway, the night train slowly declined until it almost disappeared at the start of the 21st century. But how could this popular and eco-friendly means of transport come close to extinction?
The ambition of sustainable fuel aircraft is exciting, because they might just decarbonise flying operations. But not everything is coming up roses in the world of SAF. It could be less eco-friendly than you think.
Some aviation advocates argue that there’s a way to keep their beloved planes in the air: flying them on SAF, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel. But what does that actually look like? And what does that name really mean?
Unlike many technologies explored in these columns, the electric car could well change the face of the world. It's now almost inevitable (and that's good news). But when exactly? Might it be so far in the future that only our children and grandchildren will benefit from it?
Compared with a thermal engine car, the electric car appears to be a much better alternative from an eco point of view. But will this still be the case when it’s the status quo in France, Europe and the rest of the world?
As we know, the electric car occupies an ever-increasing share of the vehicle fleet. But can it truly become the first, or even the only technology to transport humans on four wheels? And, if so, under what conditions?
Already omnipresent in many countries, the electric car hasn’t always been as popular as it is today. Its rise has been slow, long and painful - but unstoppable.
As at the end of every season, we reflect on when various new technologies will see the light of day. It’s our approach to future gazing, with some bad faith thrown in.
It’s now clear that the hydrogen train will only be of interest if it’s deployed on a large scale, or a very large scale. It remains to be seen whether this will be possible and, if so, when? And at what price?
Now that Nicolas is aboard the same boat - well, the same train - as Adrien and Romain, he must deal with a subject that’s as important as it is huge: the future Midnight Trains network. His expertise will profoundly change the route map and the company's development strategy.
Unlike other technologies we’ve examined in our newsletters, the hydrogen train is already mature and in circulation. For many managers, it even represents the future of railways. So we’re going to explore the reasons – good or bad – for this success.
Now we know a little more about solar aircraft technology, it's time to look at its ecological credentials. Just because solar energy is clean, doesn’t mean we should accept it at face value. We have to ask questions and figure out which vehicles it could feasibly power.
After five seasons of talking about vehicles running on hydrogen, oil, gas and man-made electricity, we’re now exploring a solar-powered vehicle. But not just any solar-powered vehicle. A plane which, according to its advocates, could fly without a drop of kerosene. Let’s dig into how this strange contraption actually works.
As we’ve seen, biogas trains could offer a temporary solution for the decarbonisation of the railway industry. But is this fuel as planet-friendly as it’s made out to be
It's no secret that trains are already the most environmentally friendly means of passenger transport in the world. So why are people trying to decarbonise this mode of travel with biofuels?
Already limited to ‘autonomy’ levels 1 to 3, possibly 4 in certain, very particular environments, and clearly an obstacle for the fight against climate change, the self-driving car doesn’t seem to have a very rosy future. But could it still be rolled out widely? Perhaps, but not in the way you might expect.
Now that we're a little clearer on the ecological benefits and drawbacks of biogas trains, it’s time to ask ourselves whether it’s possible to scale it up. Because even the most interesting railway technology is useless if it’s too complex to run.
We all know that certain kinds of autonomous car are already used on roads around the world. But could they really become the norm? The jury’s out.
Unlike flying cars, which we looked at in our first series, self-driving cars are already in action in several parts of the world. But where exactly did the idea for these vehicles come from? And how has it evolved over the years?
Insufficient ‘green’ hydrogen production, the many technological challenges that may get in the way of motorisation and the explosion in the number of planes in our skies: hydrogen-fuelled aircraft won’t be zooming across our skies anytime soon. No way.
Now we know a little more about the production of green hydrogen and the technological challenges that may get in the way of motorisation, it remains to be seen if this technology could ever be rolled out at large scale in our skies.
Now we’ve studied the production of hydrogen necessary for a carbon-neutral fleet, next we’ll be looking at how feasible it actually is to power planes using this technology. Because despite all the hype, things might not be so simple.
When it comes to reducing the huge environmental impact of air traffic, hydrogen fuel is often put forward as one of the most viable solutions. But is this so-called low-carbon energy as green as claimed?
Now that we all know a little more about the history of speed on the railways – and the infrastructure required – it’s time to ask a crucial question. Can trains travelling at 1,000 kilometres/hour eradicate the plane? And if so, over what sort of distance?
For the pursuit of speed to keep rolling on, it will be necessary to build new infrastructure all over the globe. But would this be economically, technologically or environmentally feasible? The jury’s out.
Since the railways were invented, engineers and operators have always aimed to make trains as fast as possible. To such an extent that Very, Very High-Speed may soon be a reality.
Unable to find the right economic model, hampered by regulation and wrongly supported by automobile manufacturers, the flying car really does seem like a distant reality. Above all because it looks like it’s fundamentally incompatible with our era.
Now that we know what led to the race for the (very, very) high-speed and we’ve explored its potential, it’s time to ask whether it will actually see the light of day in our lifetimes. And if we had one bit of advice? Don’t put much money on it.
Despite the conclusions of our first two episodes, the press regularly hails the arrival of the flying car based on the results of experiments and success of prototypes. The reasons for this aren’t what you might expect.
With their innovative motors and ability to take off horizontally, drones have carved out a space in our skies over the past decade or so. But could they become fully-fledged vehicles one day too?