I read an interesting article at http://www.physorg.com/news183361139.html by Lin Edwards that describes a new single person electric aircraft that and hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane. As quoted by Lin:
The cruising speed of the Puffin is expected to be 240 kph, with spurts of 480 kph possible. The engine does not require air, which means its flight capabilities are not limited by thin air, and it could fly as high as 9,150 meters. With a full charge, the batteries could keep the plane aloft for only 80 kilometers at cruising speed, but as new batteries are developed this is likely to increase substantially, perhaps to over 300 kilometers by 2017.
I think these are exciting times for travel in general. I like the idea of this type of personal very light aircraft and believe with the radar and GPS technology getting increasingly better mass aeronautical transportation may actually be a reality in my lifetime! Of course that is a bit of a stretch but it seems the technology is moving us in that direction anyway.
This got me to thinking of the types of technologies from a cable harness point of view that would help facilitate our transition to break our chains from cars to planes for personal and mass transit. Considering weight is going to be a key factor I would think breaking away from copper as a conductor wherever possible and using fiber optics would help. A not insignificant portion of the weight of a vehicle nowadays is due to the wiring harness and its associated components. For power distribution I wonder if we will get to the point where we can use induction to transfer power from one object to another without wires, like, even though it seems silly to say, how I charge my electric toothbrush. There are several other technologies such as electrodynamic induction, electrostatic induction and a whole range of far field power distribution mechanisms that may play a role in the distribution of power in the future of transportation design.
There is still quite a bit of technology in the area of power, power distribution and materials that needs to be created before my vision is a reality – but I am ever hopeful that one day projects like the Puffin will pave the way!