Transportation and Aerospace

Universal Energy's goal of solving the resource and climate-driven problems of our time is made possible by technologies that exist today. Yet the capabilities they present are not exhaustive to this objective. Once we arrive at a threshold where we can rapidly deploy methods to provide for our core needs and thus become spared of the civilizational costs these needs once consumed, the opportunities at our fingertips extend into areas that are not yet possible in a world dominated by finite resources and the conflicts they spawn.

Accordingly, the last areas of focus emphasized by this project are the technologies and capabilities Universal Energy makes possible tomorrow. Of the examples this includes, few stand out greater than those within transportation and aerospace.

Even today, we still see rapid advancement in next-generation transportation technology. Consider self-driving cars as an example. Once contained to works of science fiction, autonomous vehicles have now improved to the point where their safety far exceeds those of human drivers,[1] which approximately see one fatality per 33,000 miles driven.[2] Self driving cars' near-perfect safety record beats that by 5,000%.[3] Their introduction in tomorrow's roads presents massive benefits for public safety, traffic efficiency and movement of commercial goods.

  • Self-driving cars use wireless sensors

    Self-driving cars use wireless sensors for detection

  • Interface for Tesla's self-driving autopilot mode

    Interface for Tesla's self-driving autopilot mode

  • Prototype driverless car in testing

    Prototype driverless car in testing

The prospect of flying cars raises the bar higher still. The marriage of car and aircraft has been integral to most any vision of a futuristic society, from The Jetsons-onward. Yet even though both the aircraft and motor vehicle each were invented more than a century ago,[4] the arrival of their combination has been elusive. This was because we historically lacked the means to make small craft that can take off and land vertically, both in terms of the electric motors that uniformly deliver instantaneous torque, to lightweight materials at high strength, to lightweight mediums for energy storage.[5] Yet as you read this, several technology demonstrators have arrived to market that can begin to realize the vision of a personal flying car, even with today's technical limitations.

Each of the following three images show real-world flying craft.

  • Ehang-184 personal drone

    Ehang184 personal flying drone

  • Ehang-184 drone controls

    Ehang184 personal flying drone interior

  • Lilium vertical take-off air taxi

    Lilium vertical take-off air taxi

Applying the material, energy storage and prefabricated manufacturing methods accelerated by the technologies inherent to Universal Energy stands to expand this possibility even further - both in manned and unmanned applications.

We could also consider the cutting-edge trains and railways that define the mass-transit infrastructure of Europe, China and Japan. Traveling hundreds of miles per hour, high-speed magnetic rail is second only to jet aircraft in how its revolutionized human movement.[6] Advances in materials, energy production and industrial fabrication apply just as strongly here. Elon Musk's hyperloop - a next-generation transit mass-transit system capable of nigh-supersonic travel over potentially any distance[7] is not a work of science fiction - it's a work of science future, for our near horizon can see the realization of such systems in a world powered by advanced energy technologies and an unlimited supply of inexpensive resources.

  • Maglev rail with capabilities exceeding 600kph

    China's latest magnetic levitation rail prototype

  • Hyperloop rapid transit concept

    Hyperloop rapid transit concept

  • Hyperloop envisioned as global subway

    Hyperloop envisioned as global subway

The potential for advancement only accelerates from here. Built off a hydrogen fuel standard, the capabilities of tomorrow's aircraft are as transformative as the invention of the jet engine was over the propeller.[8] The fastest a commercial jet aircraft has ever traveled was 1,350 miles per hour - twice the speed of sound.[9] Yet future aircraft already in development stands to shatter that record several times over - and present capabilities where long-distance travel from Los Angeles to London or New York to Tokyo could take only a few short hours.[10] Beyond the avenues this opens up in terms of global travel, this capability presents implications for commercial transport, to-the-second logistics and business efficiency that are nearly impossible to overstate.

The challenges of expanding the development of such craft today, as with many of the other technologies mentioned throughout this project, are held in areas of material, energy, manufacturing capabilities and the combined costs of each. The remedy, in turn, remains the same: by investing in technologies that present a dynamically scalable framework for energy generation and resource production, we obtain the means by which we can meet and overcome those challenges.

  • Scramjet vs. traditional jet engine

    Scramjet vs. traditional jet engine

  • SR-72 hypersonic aircraft prototype

    SR-72 hypersonic aircraft prototype

  • Skylon single stage to orbit craft

    Skylon single stage to orbit air/space craft

This theme presents a common picture because the picture is, at its heart, common. We know that achieving these thresholds are possible, as it's not a question of whether or not these systems can function as envisioned. It's a question of how to power them, what materials in which to build them, and how they may be optimally engineered to maximize cost efficiency and overall safety. These are questions that have empirical answers. And they are all derived from technology.

Such answers can push us further still. Limitations within energy, fuel, material and manufacturing methods don't just hinder our ability to transform how we travel within our world. They also hinder our ability to travel beyond it. Nearly every aspect of space exploration and the prospect of interplanetary colonization is severely limited by functions of energy, fuel, materials and other vital resources. As humanity embarks on journeys towards greater frontiers, we will need to expand our capabilities to build the tools that can carry us along the way.

Novel methods of orbital delivery,[11] emergent methods of interstellar propulsion,[12] the means in which to rapidly manufacture habitable structures on environmentally hostile worlds are all requirements in this context. The energy, material and resource revolutions Universal Energy seeks to make the new normal can serve as stepping stones towards reaching these new heights and placing our feet on uncharted terrain.

Because that's the point, truly: solving the resource and ecological challenges of our time to build a better world is not an end to a chapter. It's the start of a story. One that is yet to be written, but is nonetheless still ours to be shaped and told by our actions, and our choices, with the time and tools we have been given.

We are held back not by clarity of vision, technology, methods of engineering or manufacturing. Nor by money, faith, or mandate. Only will - the will to choose, as a people, to build the world we have always dreamt of but never before could have until we to made the decision to reach it together. And that, above all else, is the Next Giant Leap.

Click the button below to see how Universal Energy can help revolutionize transportation and aerospace to help build a brighter future.