Future Transportation and Open Source Principles

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Cool Projects
Tags: ,

Over the past week, I noticed a few articles on new transportation projects that are focusing on using Open Source development techniques to create something new.  This time it isn’t software though and it isn’t a new piece of computer hardware either.  Instead the people running these projects are creating new ways to transport people.

First, there is John Nicol’s MakerPlane Open Source aircraft.  I met John about 9 months ago at a simulations conference and on his website, he states:

MakerPlane is an open source aviation organization which will enable people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost plane using advanced personal manufacturing equipment such as CNC mills and 3D printers.  Our  projects  include open source avionics software to enable state-of-the-art digital flight instruments and display capabilities.

He is a big fan of Red Hat and how the open source community develops software and has decided to apply those same principles to aircraft design.  John’s story was featured on OpenSource.com earlier this year (interviewed by yours truly) and was picked up by wired.com just a couple of weeks ago when the indiegogo.com campaign started to raise capital for the project.

The next, and equally cool project is the “Hyperloop”.  Described by its creator, Elon Musk of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors fame, “It’s a cross between a Concord and a rail gun and an air hockey table.” said Musk.  According to his drawings, the Hyperloop is a  tube based, 800 mph transportation system that rides on a cushion of air and would be capable of carrying passengers from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes.  There was a good article about that on the Washington Post website today after he released his plans for the system.

It is a bit disappointing though that Elon has no plans to build the Hyperloop himself, but since he has released the plans as an open source document, it is available for anyone to pick up and run with it.  Hopefully it will be built someday and change transportation more than the Segway did a few years ago (I still want one though).

I guess that is part of the awesomeness of Open Source.  If you have an idea, you can put it out there for others to pick up and develop, use, change and if all goes well, society can benefit from it.

  1. Michael says:

    umm, not his idea at all. 1800’s and also in 1950 a detailed patent issued to DR. Roberts Goddard
    ‘Father of Rocketry’ http://www.google.com/patents/US2511979


    Oh, you probably think Elon invented the vertical takeoff and landing rocket also. lol
    I am glad, however, that he is using his money and time to facilitate great ideas from thinkers before him.

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