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LABCITIES
4 months ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Articles about technology and the future of transportation rarely used to get far without mentioning jetpacks: a staple of science fiction from the 1920s onwards, the jetpack became a reality in the 1960s in the shape of devices such as the Bell Rocket Belt. But despite many similar efforts, the skies over our cities remain stubbornly free of jetpack-toting commuters.

For a novel form of transport to make a material difference to our lives, several key requirements must be satisfied. Obviously the new technology must work safely, and operate within an appropriate regulatory framework. But public acceptance and solid business models are also vital if a new idea is to move from R&D lab to testbed to early adoption, and eventually into mainstream usage.

There's inevitably a lot of hype surrounding the future of transportation, but also plenty of substance, with big investments being made both by disruptive tech companies and by incumbent industry players. Can technology help to get us and our goods around quicker, in greater safety, and with less damage to the planet?