2024 is here, and with it, a few new ways to travel. Uber rides in personalized flying devices? Joyrides into the stratosphere in a balloon? And car rides where you can put your hands behind your head?
These aren’t scenes from a sci-fi movie o, they’re they’re future of travel, and they’re here. Now! So fasten your seatbelts and let’s explore the transportation breakthroughs that will define 2024.
eVTOL—The Future of Urban Travel
Volocopter’s eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) technology, particularly the VoloCity aircraft, could potentially revolutionize urban air mobility. A drone you can fly in, it is an emissions-free cab ride designed to carry one passenger and one pilot. The aircraft will fly at altitudes below 500 meters and are designed to be inaudible from ground level in urban environments.
In partnership with Groupe ADP and the French Civil Aviation Authority, Volocopter aims to introduce these fun new taxis during the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The VoloCity aircraft will operate from five initial “vertiports” in Paris. The intention is to expand coverage across the city region over the next decade.
For the Paris Olympics, the eVTOL flights will connect key locations like Charles de Gaulle Airport and Le Bourget Airport. They will offer both connection routes and tourist round-trip flights. This introduction of eVTOL services in Paris is part of a larger modernize urban transportation networks.
5G Technology—Breaking Down Barriers
In 2024, 5G technology is going to explode. With its high-speed connectivity, 5G is more than 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE, and has low latency. 5G will make virtual and augmented reality experiences even more immersive and interactive. Digital concierges and AI-driven tourist guides will be able to provide personalized experiences without the lag or the need for WiFi.
Interestingly, 5G technology will also help destinations offer better crowd management. Apps like ‘Feel Florence‘ and ‘CheckBarcelona‘ use real-time data to guide tourists to less crowded areas and hidden gems.
Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot—New Standards in Hands-Free Driving
In 2024, Mercedes-Benz is set to introduce Level 3 semi-autonomous driving technology in the United States with its EQS and S-Class models. Dubbed ‘Drive Pilot’, this system allows for hands-free driving under certain conditions. On the highway, it’s more like a super enhanced cruise control, but it’s abiliyt to drive in heavy traffic is a game changer.
Space Balloon Tourism: Consumer Near-Space Tourism
Hot air ballooning over New Mexico or Turkey is about to meet its match! In 2024, space tourism via balloon will begin to offer a more accessible way for people to experience near-space travel.
The Japanese startup Iwaya aims to launch ‘near-space tourism’ via balloon by 2024. The helium-filled balloon will carry passengers 15.5 miles above the ground–high above commercial airliners, which usually soar between 6-7 miles. The views of Earth from near-space come at a lower cost than traditional space tourism, though still not cheap. Iwaya plans to make commercial flights available in March 2024 at $164,000 per passenger, a more affordable option compared to other space tourism ventures.
Virgin Galactic charges $450,000 per flight, and SpaceX’s passengers have reported paying $55 million for trips to the International Space Station on Crew Dragon.
Another key player in this emerging market is Space Perspective with their spaceship Neptune. This system uses a 650-foot-tall balloon filled with hydrogen. It is expected to reach an altitude of nearly 20 miles. The spacious cabin can accommodate eight passengers. The six-hour flight culminates in a gentle descent and ocean splashdown. Space Perspective has already sold over 600 tickets for the Neptune space balloon at $125,000 each.
New Ways to Travel in 2024
From new ways to hitch a ride, to new ways to breach the sky, keep your eyes on the horizon. The future of travel looks like it’s going to be a thrilling ride.
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