SDG 11 | sustainable cities and communities
The science popularizer points out that supersonic aviation will be a mobility alternative in 2025
What do we understand by mobility? “Mobility is going from point A to point B,” answers Michio Kaku, science communicator. A simple answer to a not complex question. But what will that mobility look like in the future? Now, the replica is not so simple. “For years we have been and continue to be on foot, then we tamed the horses, then the motor came,” says the expert on the main stage of the Global Mobility Call. “These are the first, second and third revolution, what will the fourth and fifth be like?” he adds. Supersonic aircraft, space travel, smart cars are some of the concepts on the teacher’s roadmap.
An hour of vision to the future full of unknowns and questions that the Ph.D. in Physical-Mathematical Sciences from Harvard University tries to provide answers. “What if instead of us going somewhere, the world comes to our living room?” He questions. “We have done this in the last two years,” he adds.
However, that is not your bet for the next few years. “We seek to set trends in mobility,” warned José Vicente de los Mozos, head of Renault in Spain, industrial director of the brand at a global level, member of its board of directors and president of Ifema, days before the start of this fair . The trending topics that the youngest in this sector would say are artificial intelligence, connectivity and sharing. “This is the fourth revolution and in thirty years the fifth will come with fusion energy,” says Kaku.
Fusion power and ITER, two words that the futurologist will repeat on several occasions both at the conference and in the subsequent meeting with the media. “This energy will mark a new era in sustainability,” he adds.
However, halfway between the present and the future in the next three decades, a forgotten means of transport sneaks into the Airbus hangars: supersonic aircraft. “By 2025, we will be able to travel from New York to Tokyo in three hours,” Kaku says emphatically.
“We are fools if we think that the electric car is going to solve the planet’s climate emergency”
A trip to tomorrow, but with a look to the past. “The Concorde was not cheap, because its technology was from the 1960s.” This plane operated by British Airways and Air France connected both sides of the Atlantic in half the time of a commercial flight. “NASA already has a supersonic plane without the Concorde sound explosion,” says Kaku. The cost? “Quantum computing and its technology will make it cheaper,” he adds. “This is the fifth revolution.”
This new step “will allow us to talk to machines and have other worlds,” he highlights. Update 5.0 of reality based on a computational revolution, quantum computers and the internet in the eyes. These are the day-to-day bets that, according to the Ph.D. in Physical-Mathematical Sciences, are just around the corner.
“Many we already have,” he says. Flying cars? “They already exist,” she replies. Smart cars? “They already exist.” “They’re just expensive,” she says.
The journey of the new mobility has three stations, according to Kaku. The first stop is the military and government sphere. The second, the rich, he comments. “The clearest example is space tourism,” he notes.
Today, the first space tourists have managed to experience zero gravity thanks to bills that exceed 100,000 dollars. “We have managed to reuse rockets and that will bring down the price,” he says. This is how you get to the third stop: “mom and dad’s trips”, baptizes Kaku, or the democratization of these means of transport. “The Moon is three days away, who says we can’t have a honeymoon on the Moon,” he warns.
And the electric car?
The way to travel and move is still an unknown to be resolved. What is certain is “that it will be sustainable,” warned de los Mozos. An idea that Kaku adopts, but with particularities. “We are fools if we think that the electric car is going to solve the planet’s climate emergency,” he replies emphatically. “Where does that electricity come from?” he asks immediately. “From coal,” he replies.
The energy of the sustainable mobility of the future does not pass through the electric car, nor through hydrogen, but the solution is in the south of France, near Marseille. The chosen city is Cadarache, which “will house the first thermonuclear fusion reactor.”
“The Moon is three days away, who says we can’t have a honeymoon on the Moon?”
Fusion energy is one of the “most promising” sources of the future, according to experts. For its generation, two atomic nuclei are combined into one, thus releasing enormous amounts of energy. “Water from the sea and the sun is used,” explains Kaku.
Sun and hydrogen two actors who are already old acquaintances. But the scientific world goes further and has launched an international fusion research megaproject called ITER, which aims to replicate the fusion processes of the Sun to create energy on Earth. “In the middle of the century we will have batteries to store this energy,” explains Kaku.
However, the roadmap established by international organizations is not advancing at a good pace. Various technical and logistical problems have delayed and continue to delay the construction of this work in France. “Well, technology sometimes fails,” comments the Ph.D. in Physical-Mathematical Sciences ironically, but without losing an iota of optimism about this energy.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.