Aims: to develop students' reading skills
to develop students' speaking skills
to broaden students' cultural knowledge
to activate vocabulary on the topic
The transport of the future
I. Which futuristic vehicles will operate using energy from the sun? Read the text to find it out.
The transport of the future show (Exhibition Arena, 20 – 27 September)
Welcome to the annual show exhibiting the future of transport. Each year, we bring you innovative designs that propose more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly options for the future of travel.
Already planned for Tel Aviv in Israel, this aerial public transport system hopes to solve the city’s major traffic problems in the next few years. The design comprises futuristic pod-like vehicles which hang from metal tracks six metres above the ground and the pods ‘float’ along at 80 mph using magnetic levitation (maglev) technology. Within 50 years this kind of technology is expected to be the norm in most cities, revolutionising the future of our tram and underground systems – in countries like Japan the testing of high-speed maglev trains is already in progress. Maglev technology operates using electricity and magnetic force, which reduces friction on the tracks, allowing for higher speed and lower power consumption so SkyTran can transport passengers around urban areas in a safe, rapid, green and economical way.
AWWA-QG Progress Eagle
Designers and engineers in the aviation industry are working hard to revolutionise the future of flying. Prototypes for a number of supersonic planes are being put forward all the time, but one of the most resourceful is this concept plane that could be in the skies by the 2030s. Capable of holding up to 800 passengers, it would be a lot bigger than today’s largest passenger plane, the
Airbus A380, and would be 75% quieter than current aircraft. Six engines powered by hydrogen with solar panels on the wings would make it a very environmentally responsible plane, too.
This is an exciting innovation for the future of train travel. Currently proposed for a
route between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the USA, the 380-mile journey is expected to take just 30 minutes. The idea is that specially designed trains travel through steel tubes elevated off the ground which have nearly all the air removed to create a vacuum, allowing passengers to zoom along at average speeds of 800 mph in a carbon-free mode of transport that runs on electricity from solar panels. The developers of this ground-breaking train system say it could be ready as early as 2018.
Flying cars used to be the thing of the future. Well, now that future isn’t very far away. The TF-X™ is the first fully autonomous carplane in development and designers predict it will be ready sometime in the next decade. An ingenious futuristic vehicle, it will drive on roads, take off vertically and of course fly. On the ground, it runs like a normal car, and when the driver is ready to become a pilot, its retractable wings open at the press of a button and it operates automatically, travelling at speeds of around 200 mph for a distance of up to 500 miles without the need for refuelling. It has two electric motors and a fuel engine, and can recharge its batteries either from the engine or by plugging into an electric car charging station. In theory it sounds like
the ideal solution for our future needs, but development is still in the early stages, so be patient in the meantime.
II. Circle the best answers:
1 Public transport systems like SkyTran will be the standard form of city travel………….
a in the next decade.
b half a century from now.
2 Progress Eagle is a proposed environmentally-friendly concept plane ………………
a using solar energy and magnetic force.
b running on hydrogen fuel and solar panels.
3 Hyperloop will travel at high speeds thanks to……………..
a airless tunnels.
b maglev technology.
4 The TF-X™ car of the future will work on auto-pilot ………………….
a in flight.
b on the ground.
5 Less resistance on the tracks means more speed and energy efficiency for the ……………..
a Hyperloop train
b SkyTran public transport system
6 Less noise and more space are some of the proposed features for the ……………….
a TF-X™ flying car.
b Progress Eagle plane.
III. Write the correct transport of the future.
1 a passenger vehicle that runs below its tracks:
2 a flying machine with fixed wings:
3 a vehicle that is not public transport:
4 the fastest land vehicle currently planned for the future:
5 the transport with the longest timescale before it is commercially available:
6 a vehicle that runs on electrical power alone:
7 a vehicle capable of two types of transportation:
8 a transport system using the same technology as other high-speed systems currently in development
IV. Did you know?
Travel from New York to China in 42 minutes and 12 seconds? Impossible! Or is it? Imagine a train that travels through the centre of the Earth to get from one side of the globe to the other in record time. The gravity train would use the same principle of high-speed travel as the Hyperloop – an airless tube cut through the Earth with the train zooming along at speeds of up to 18,000 mph. The idea has been proposed several times in the past and scientists haven’t said it’s impos-sible, but for now it remains only an idea.
1 Do you think any of these forms of transport will actually be available for commercial use in the future? Why/Why not?
2 What ideas do you have for future forms of transport that would be fast, practical, efficient and environmentally-friendly?
VI. Project. Choose one of these forms of transport.
bus • lorry• bike • boat • motorbike
Find out about the future forms of your chosen mode of transport that are being developed.
Prepare a presentation of your future form of transport. Use the plan:
- How is it built?
- How it operates?
- What energy does it use?
- How fast does it go?
- When might it be available for commercial use?
- Why is it needed?