The Adrenalist

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Personal Vehicles Of The Future



Automobiles have had their day. Too many days, in fact. The first practical internal combustion engine was invented in the mid 1800s, the Model T went into production in 1908 and the rest is history… noisy, smoggy, unsafe history that has been marked by little innovation on the world’s roads. There is hope, however. See below for a collection of new technologies that promise to one day change the way we ride.

Icon A5 – Light, Personal Aircraft

George Jetson’s preferred mode of transportation would have you believe we’d all be commuting by wing to work by now, but safety and cost concerns have kept that dream grounded (unless you’re in Sao Paulo’s one-percent as Guardian reports). Roads are for work. The air (and water) are for fun, and that’s true right this minute. Nearly 700 Icon A5‘s have already been ordered, each at the modest price of $139,000. The A5 embodies versatility, able to take off and land on water, and fitted with wings that fold up so you can hitch the two-seat aircraft to your hemi and pull it into your garage. The first commercial A5s are expected to start shipping to the public in 2015.

Mercedes-Benz Biome – A Car Born From Seeds

Unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Design Challenge, the Mercedes-Benz Biome is an eco engineer’s fantasy car. According to its fanciful backstory, the car grows from genetically engineered seeds that sprout from Mercedes logos at the front and back of its chassis. The “BioFibre” body of the vehicle stores energy from the sun, and when the car runs, nothing but pure oxygen is emitted into the environment. Of course, none of this technology yet exists, but the story does, and the science is more moon landing than time travel. At the very least, the Biome is inspiration for auto engineers the world over, including those at Mercedes-Benz, who promise to include several Biome design features into the company’s next supercar.

Rinspeed sQuba – A Car that Swims 

Inspired by the amphibious Lotus Espirit in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rinspeed sQuba does exactly what you think it does: drives on land and dives underwater. The all-electric two-seater can hit speeds of 75 mph on land, 3.7 mph on the surface of water, and 1.9 mph when fully submerged. This vehicle is just perfect for those times when you’re hopping from island to island on your private archipelago – and that’s just what the sQuba was designed to do. Its designer readily admits that when it’s available in a few years, it will be a “toy for rich people.” The prototype alone cost more than $1.5 million to build.

Smart 454 – Customize Your Ride

The core concept of the Smart 454 is an idea whose time has come: easily customizable car parts. You don’t want to wear the same clothes every day. It’s safe to say neither does your car. Change it up. With the Smart 454, unveiled at the 2010 LA Auto Show, that’s easier than ever. The doors, roof, engine and drive train of the 454 can all be “clipped-on” and “clipped-off,” making it a breeze to funkify your ride before your morning coffee gets cold. At least that’s the idea. Smart has announced no plans to begin production of the vehicle.

NASA Puffin – Stealth, High-Performance Flight

In nature, the puffin flies low over the surface of the ocean, furiously beating its wings toward breeding or feeding grounds. In aeronautics, the puffin behaves quite differently. A fanciful stealth concept aircraft announced by NASA in 2010, the Puffin is designed to take off and land upright, pitch horizontal mid-air and cruise silently at 240 kilometers per hour at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. To evade hostiles, the Puffin can reach “zooming” speeds of nearly 500 kph. The Puffin, after all, is a stealth craft with obvious military applications. This aircraft could, however, just as easily go civilian. If it ever does, it will give civvies one hell of a quiet, if not totally safe, ride.

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