Humanity has arrived at a literal crossroads, where the benefits of personal transportation are butting against the need for a more efficient means of transit. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could combine both? A sci-fi transit concept called the AKA24 gives drivers the option of total control on local roads, or of letting a computer take over on a high-speed maglev line.
Designed by Chuang Dong, Zhen Qiu and Haowen Deng, the AKA24 is something that would be more at home in the world of Blade Runner or The Fifth Element (shoutout to Leeloo). Using specially designed four-wheel cars, these single-person pods can be driven independently, or attached to a sideways maglev line, like those that zip across Japan and China. When drivers get close enough to the maglev line, the cars “flip” sideways and latch onto the line. Occupants need not worry though, as an independent pod swings to keep passengers properly oriented at all times.
It literally turns the idea of roads and railways on its side, and one that has some merit. By building up, instead of sideways, designers could be large vertical high-speed “roads” that these special cars could attach to. You could squeeze a lot more vehicles into a vertical space, especially in a congested urban setting. It’s a skyscraper-inspired road, and while this particular design is unlikely to ever see the light of day, it’s an inspirational design that could inspire future sci-fi novels.
While these concepts aren’t good for much more than inspiration, all it takes is one really good idea to change the world. Just ask Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. For the record though, I still prefer the Hyperloop.