For most of human history, our mode of mobility was feet — our own feet, or those of some domesticated animal. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, we walked or used horses. These quadrupeds remained the dominant mode of inter-city and intra-city transport for over two thousand years. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, the mode of inter-city transport changed over from horses to railways. Another half a century later the horse also disappeared from cities and towns as intra-city transport was taken over by automobiles. In the mid-twentieth century airplanes became the dominant mode of inter-city travel in North America, with railways continuing in addition to airplanes in Europe and Asia.
And that’s where we are today — stuck with trains, planes and automobiles for nearly a century. But not for long.
As Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields, recently said,
“We are on the cusp of a mobility revolution.”
And it is not going to be anything short of a great mobility revolution. We can expect to see a total transportation transformation. Intra-city transport is set to be revolutionized by autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing and may be even drone flying-cars, and inter-city travel by innovations such as the hyperloop.
If I have to pick one legendary figure who personifies this great mobility revolution, hands-down it would be Elon Musk. His combination of visionary audacity and grit to persevere through incredible odds, is a once-in-a-generation phenomenon. And when that force has trained its eyes on the mobility industry that has remained in an evolutionary rut for nearly a century, a great transformation is all but inevitable.
At last week’s TED 2017 —The Future You conference, Elon Musk sat down with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson, and talked at length about his entire arsenal of revolutionary projects from Tesla to SpaceX to Hyperloop and to the latest The Boring Company. Not only is he revolutionizing intra-city and inter-city travel, but also inter-planetary travel. He has plans to build a rocket that can carry the equivalent of a fully loaded 747 jumbo-jet as its payload, all the way to Mars, with the aim of establishing a human population of 1 million on Mars within Musk’s lifetime. Now that is audacious! And absolutely, incredibly, exciting!
Watch Musk’s full talk here. And get ready for the great mobility revolution!
For information on how ANSYS is helping to drive the mobility revolution (pun intended), please check out our whitepaper Fast-Tracking Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles Development with Simulation.