1. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    Futuristic Vehicles

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ShannonH, Apr 12, 2016.

    I'm looking for input as to what type of personal vehicles one would expect to see in a futuristic space opera setting.

    To me, the idea of hovercars almost seemed clichéd at this stage. In a Universe where space ships are capable of traversing great distances between planets and moons in days and weeks the worry of hovercars not being technically viable isn't much of a concern but it might be a case of the trope being overused.

    I had considered just using cars much like we have today; the story universe has a number of present day items; wrist watches, tablets, cigarettes, etc but I'm wondering if using car is too uninspired for a setting so far in the future.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Guttersnipe
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    Guttersnipe Member

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    This should be a late decision, not an early one, unless it's central to the plot. Determine your society, the technical level in general, and the technological advances that are available. You might still have internal combustion engines, you might have electric propulsion powered by batteries, or powered by small cold-fusion reactors. Or some other motive force, like pushing against the fabric of space. Vehicles might be on wheels, on tracks, hovering just off the ground, or flying through the air. They might be user-controlled, or self-controlled by an AI or central computer. They might be individually owned, or they might be public transport that you summon on demand. All variations are possible. It just depends on the specifics of your world.
     
  3. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kind of an opposite example: My current WIP is about what technology would be like in the future, and the ways it changes soldiers for better or worse. That is what my story is ABOUT, so I am researching and picking at drone max range and phantom limp replacement to death.

    If your story is about a detective trying to clear his name, or a robot ambassador, then just make sure your asthetics are natural for the setting and help support the plot. Make drone uber cabs for sherlock to brood in alone after pissing off Watson, or a elegant space barge/pool for the ambassador to entertain the Nova whales of Zene. Be creative, but don't distract from your premise.
     
  4. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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  5. agasfer
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    agasfer Member

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    First of all, it depends how far into the future. Also, do you need technobabble in your story? If the transport is not a central point in your plot, then best is to leave it unexplained and leave it to the reader's imagination. A good bet is that, as far as surface vehicles, driverless cars will be eventually ruling the road, although not as soon as some of the hype and poor labeling by the car manufacturers would lead one to believe. (See Technofiles, page 19, Scientific American , June 2016). Also it will depend on your location -- the scene in America is likely to be different to that in Holland, for example.
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Nope. You can even still have them run on liquid dinosaurs if you like. :supergrin:

    I use trucks and jeeps and stuff like that, in my novels sequel (though they are not combustion engine driven) which takes place circa 2700s. So you can do as you please, it is your story.
    Hover cars are cliche, and when I think about it, they make me think of giants using them as air-hockey pucks. :supergrin:
     
  7. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Cars are becoming smarter and maybe one day people will too.

    All forms of transportation, besides manual (such as walking) driven, are going to eventually become "driver-less." This means that it will have an A.I. aboard (wait for the bumper stickers).

    The use of an alternate form of energy is an eventuality too. Combustible engines area reliant on fossil fuels, which do not replenish at our current rate of use. Solar, hydro, or another form of energy will take control eventually.

    You could have your car have a tri-fold system that involves the use of solar, hydro, and wind energy. The car filters wind that ends up collecting moisture from the air into a water system (a coolant as well) -- see Aero bottles. The water is cycled through the car, creating energy, which is used for blahblahblah add some solar cells and you got a it-doesn't-really-matter-it's-the-future-type-situation.

    Depends on far you want to go into the future. Maybe we harness the energy of light to teleport from place to place. Maybe we develop bio-nanites that allow us to to develop the ability to fly. Who knows?

    My suggestion is try making a timeline for your world. Do some research on the development of cars and flight over time and see how progress has gone so far. Then have a nice little thinking session.

    My assumption? Most computerized transportation will start hosting an A.I. that will take out the human operator. We'll also eventually switch over to no longer having a dependency to fossil fuels once it stops being as profitable. My guess? Solar/electric to start us off and maybe eventually a water system.

    Know what would be cool? Personal vehicles that are amphibious. Flight, unless an A.I. is controlling it, is just not realistic for humans. Waaaayyyy too many crashes.
     
  8. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I would definitely stick as close to what we have now as possible. Obviously there will have to be some changes as technology advances, but I agree that hover cars are a cliché. Otherwise, either don't mention them at all (as one poster said) or, do away with personal vehicles altogether and create a superior transport system (some kind of tube/train/metro system that runs above and below the ground to every destination) - I dunno, just thinking out loud.:superthink:
     
  9. joeh1234
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    joeh1234 Active Member

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    the thing with flying cars that I always found silly, was if you had a vehicle that could fly why would it need to drive on the road as well, as it could move more freely. So for me it would be a PAV (Personal Aviation Vehicle).
     
  10. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well since you said "futuristic space opera setting", I would lean towards more of a Mary Poppins sort of thing, pull a small object out of my pocket and it creates a special transport envelope around me and you control it like a Segway. Depending on how far advanced your society is it might even transport you to an orbiting space ship for long distance travel, obviously would have to enclose you in an air bubble, etc.
     
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  11. mashers
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    mashers Senior Member

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    I think the ones in the reimagined Total Recall were a very realistic future personal vehicle. They ran on a maglev system and could travel either on the top or the bottom of the track. They looked cool, seemed practical, and were a realistic extrapolation of what cars might be like in the future.
     
  12. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Most advances in machinery like that comes from necessity: usually war. Ask yourself, what would be the most efficient vehicle to fight a war with, then see how to adapt it for civilian use. I imagine a personal transport that can fly like a drone, but fits in a backpack and deploys itself.
     
  13. Buttered Toast
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    Buttered Toast Active Member

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    Not sure if anyone else has said this but what about a teleporter?
    They could travel using a teleporter gun, just key in the place they want to go and shoot to make a hole like 'Portal' or shoot themselves!!!? :D
     

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