Sal­mon de­liv­ered by hy­per­loop and mail by drone?

Re­search sci­en­tists have been gazing into their crys­tal balls. These are the tech­no­log­i­cal trends that will af­fect the trans­port sys­tems of the fu­ture.

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

De­vel­op­ments in tech­nol­ogy will leave their mark on Nor­we­gian roads. More ad­vanced IT sys­tems make self­driv­ing cars pos­si­ble, as well as drones that can de­liver par­cel post – with built-in in­tel­li­gence. Hy­per­loop tech­nol­ogy is not just fan­tasy: this means of trans­port, based on very low air pres­sure and in­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy, can be­come a re­al­ity. Test cir­cuits are be­ing planned at sev­eral lo­ca­tions.

At first, it is un­likely that the method will be used to trans­port pas­sen­gers, but to ship goods such as freshly killed sal­mon, where speed is im­por­tant. At least, that’s the view of a wide-rang­ing team of re­search sci­en­tists in many dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cal fields at SINTEF, one of Europe’s largest in­de­pen­dent re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions es­tab­lished in 1950 by the Nor­we­gian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (NTNU).

The SINTEF re­port “Te­knolog­itren­der som pavirker trans­port­sek­toren” (Tech­no­log­i­cal trends that af­fect the trans­port in­dus­try) has been writ­ten on be­half of the project group be­hind the Nor­we­gian Na­tional Trans­port Plan. The time frame ex­tends as far as 2060 and ac­cord­ing to the re­search sci­en­tists we will ex­pe­ri­ence rad­i­cal changes.

These are some of the SINTEF sci­en­tists’ pre­dic­tions for the next 30 years:

More and more ve­hi­cles will be fit­ted with com­put­ers which in turn will run ad­vanced soft­ware. In ad­di­tion, sen­sor tech­nol­ogy will be brought into use in more ve­hi­cles. Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers this will af­fect both traf­fic and our driv­ing habits.

At present, cars con­tain from 60 to 100 sen­sors, but re­searchers be­lieve that a new car in 2020 will be fit­ted with up to 200 sen­sors. Data from these sen­sors can be used both in mon­i­tor­ing the ve­hi­cle (for ex­am­ple safety equip­ment such as ABS brakes) and for main­te­nance pur­poses.

This can po­ten­tially make travel on Nor­we­gian roads safer: The trend is that more and more data are dis­trib­uted di­rectly and in real time to the man­u­fac­turer of the ve­hi­cle and to the op­er­a­tor of the road net­work. This in­for­ma­tion can be used in IT-based safety ser­vices such as col­li­sion avoid­ance and mon­i­tor­ing the tech­ni­cal sta­tus of the road net­work.

The re­searchers also pre­dict that more dig­i­tal sys­tems will mean that we will re­ceive even more data: about ev­ery­thing from en­ergy con­sump­tion to driv­ing and move­ment pat­terns. As a re­sult, SINTEF is high­light­ing the need for de­bate around the fu­ture own­er­ship of this mass of data.

In years to come we will see even more elec­tric ve­hi­cles – cars, buses and bi­cy­cles – par­tic­u­larly in ur­ban ar­eas. This will af­fect the elec­tric­ity sup­ply grid and will in some cases cause lo­cal elec­tric­ity sup­ply prob­lems. Re­search sci­en­tists be­lieve that this will re­sult in an in­crease in lo­cal gen­er­a­tion of clean en­ergy, for ex­am­ple us­ing so­lar cells which are in­te­grated into build­ings, or small lo­cal wind tur­bine in­stal­la­tions. They also fore­see that road ve­hi­cles will in fu­ture be used more ef­fi­ciently than at present, be­cause peo­ple will in­creas­ingly opt for car pool­ing, es­pe­cially in towns.

When it comes to trans­port over longer dis­tances we will also no­tice in­creas­ing elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, both on wa­ter and in the air. There will be more elec­tric fer­ries and re­searchers also ex­pect elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the avi­a­tion in­dus­try to take place by 2040.

At present, most peo­ple as­so­ci­ate the word “in­duc­tion” with kitchen cook­ers, but elec­tri­cal en­ergy trans­fer by way of con­tact­less in­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy will make its en­try on our roads. In­duc­tive charg­ing sys­tems will first ap­pear in sta­tion­ary charg­ing of elec­tric road ve­hi­cles and for charg­ing elec­tric buses at bus stops.

In­duc­tive charg­ing of buses at bus stops has al­ready been demon­strated for more than 15 years in Italy, and sim­i­lar sys­tems are now be­ing tested by Sca­nia in Swe­den. Sys­tems pro­vid­ing sta­tion­ary charg­ing of elec­tric cars are al­ready on sale in the United States, and most ma­jor car man­u­fac­tur­ers are now pre­par­ing for the in­te­gra­tion of such tech­nol­ogy into their elec­tric ve­hi­cles. A con­cept for bat­tery charg­ing in elec­tric fer­ries us­ing high power in­duc­tive en­ergy trans­fer has also been de­vel­oped in Nor­way, and is cur­rently be­ing demon­strated in the hy­brid ferry “MS Fol­ge­fonn” at Stord.

Tech­nol­ogy for in­duc­tive en­ergy trans­fer can also be in­te­grated into road­ways to charge bat­ter­ies in mov­ing ve­hi­cles. Here, the re­ceiver unit in the ve­hi­cle does not have to be sta­tion­ary for the bat­tery to charge. Var­i­ous forms of dy­namic in­duc­tive charg­ing for mov­ing ve­hi­cles have al­ready been demon­strated in buses and trains in South Korea, as well as in trams and goods ve­hi­cles in Ger­many.

One of the great­est ad­van­tages of in­duc­tive en­ergy trans­mis­sion tech­nol­ogy is that there are no parts sub­ject to me­chan­i­cal wear. It also be­comes sim­pler to au­to­mate bat­tery charg­ing when no phys­i­cal con­tact is needed. For this rea­son, re­searchers be­lieve that in­duc­tive bat­tery charg­ing will be used not only in self-driv­ing and au­ton­o­mous road ve­hi­cles, but in time also for charg­ing drones, ships and var­i­ous types of ma­chin­ery, among other things. trains, but Nor­we­gian

While bat­ter­ies both store en­ergy and pro­vide power di­rectly, the hy­dro­gen sys­tem gen­er­ates elec­tri­cal power by ox­i­dis­ing hy­dro­gen to pro­duce elec­tric­ity and wa­ter. The en­ergy is stored as hy­dro­gen in a tank, and fuel cells sup­ply power.

High-speed boats and fer­ries pow­ered by hy­dro­gen are ex­pected to be in use by the end of 2020. The same is ex­pected for trains and goods ve­hi­cles for long-dis­tance trans­port. Hy­dro­gen will also even­tu­ally be pow­er­ing some air­craft.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of mass-pro­duced hy­dro­gen­pow­ered cars by Toy­ota, Honda and Hyundai, among oth­ers, in com­ing years, the reg­u­la­tory frame­work and the ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture for the use of hy­dro­gen in land-based trans­port will be in place by 2020 in many coun­tries.

Hy­dro­gen is a par­tic­u­larly ap­pro­pri­ate fuel for larger ve­hi­cles and means of trans­port, or when needed for lon­grange trans­port. This means large pas­sen­ger and goods ve­hi­cles, long-dis­tance buses, lor­ries, trains and ships.

For mar­itime use, hy­dro­gen in gaseous form will be less suitable as an en­ergy car­rier for the long­est jour­neys and for larger ves­sels. For such ap­pli­ca­tions, hy­dro­gen will be stored in liq­uid form. How­ever, for small ships and moder­ate dis­tances, vol­ume is not a prob­lem, and com­pressed hy­dro­gen gas can be used. The first tank ves­sel for trans­port­ing liq­uid hy­dro­gen is al­ready be­ing built in Ja­pan. When com­pleted in 2020 it will trans­port large amounts of hy­dro­gen from Aus­tralia and Brunei to that year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Goods trans­port, for ex­am­ple of con­sumer prod­ucts, is at present booked com­plete, from start to fin­ish. Things will be dif­fer­ent in the fu­ture. There will be a more flex­i­ble form of dis­tri­bu­tion: Re­searchers en­vis­age that “all” goods will be sent to a large goods ter­mi­nal where they will be packed and then dis­trib­uted. This al­lows us to have an over­view of the en­tire stock and thus plan the best and most ef­fi­cient way to ship goods from there.

The con­cept in­volves fit­ting the goods with in­tel­li­gence – which in prac­tice means that a prod­uct will carry elec­tronic in­for­ma­tion about what it is, what trans­port re­quire­ments ap­ply to it and where its des­ti­na­tion is. Us­ing this sort of con­cept, goods can mon­i­tor their own ship­ping and send

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