Module 1: Introduction to the Future of Transportation

This Module will start by reviewing the history of transportation and how key inventions of transportation modes led to big changes in society. It takes a look at where we stand today, including problems with our current infrastructure and transportation systems. Finally, the module introduces some of the newest emerging transportation technologies like flying cars, hyperloop, and driverless cars, just to name a few.

Module 2: Flying Cars

From fiberglass cars with wings strapped to the top of vehicles looking like they came straight out of a science fiction movie, the concept of flying cars has evolved with time and technology. In this module, we will explore and understand what a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (“VTOL”) vehicle is, the history of flying cars, current flying car projects, the pros and cons of such vehicles, and careers in the field of VTOL technology.

Module 3: Driverless Car Technology

Self-driving cars are coming. In fact, in some places, they are already on the streets. In this module, we will examine the technology behind self-driving cars. We will examine how sensors in cars “see” an object and respond accordingly, as well as how fleets of driverless cars learn from each other, through a process call machine learning, by driving millions of miles on the road. And finally, we will investigate what the future hold for those perusing a career in the industry.

Module 4: Driverless Cars in Society

In this module, we will start by outlining the need for driverless vehicles by explaining some of the problems and drawbacks of the current human-operated world we currently live in. Then we are going to examine the pros and cons of driverless cars. We will look at the benefits and risks of several aspects of driverless cars, including safety, cybersecurity, mobility, cities, and jobs. We will examine social dilemmas and privacy issues associated with self-driving cars in society. By the end of this module, you will be able to examine both sides of the issue of self-driving cars.

Module 5: Drones

This module will explain what drones are and how they are different from other aircraft. It will provide an introduction to how drones fly, are controlled, and operate autonomously. The module will examine the impact drones have on jobs today and future jobs involving drones. We will examine some of the current uses for drones and their safety. By the end of the module, you will be able to formulate an opinion about drone use, and explain whether or not you think they do more harm or good for the world.

Module 6: Hyperloop

This module is all about the proposed Hyperloop and vactrain concept. Starting with the technology, the module will explain what a vactrain is and a bit about the physics behind it. Second, it will investigate whether the concept of Hyperloop is actually practical, given costs and the current state of technology. Third, the module will examine the risks associated with such a system. After having looked at the technology and hurdles behind the system, the module will take a look at the current state of Hyperloop development and what the future holds. Finally, the module goes over careers and opportunities in the vactrain sector.

Module 7: Jetpacks

This module will define what a “jetpack” is and how it differs from other forms of technology. Second, it will identify technological advances that have contributed to the emergence of jetpacks. Third, the module will look at historical creations as well as modern jetpacks and how they operate. Next we will discuss the risks and limitations associated with jetpacks. This will bring us to a discussion about whether or not jetpacks will be used as a regular means of transportation. Finally, we will examine an existing company that develops jetpacks.

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Module 8: Supersonic Jets

This module will look at supersonic travel technology. It will examine how supersonic jets differ from traditional jetliners. Then the module will explain the “sonic boom” phenomenon. With this foundation, the module will then look at the technology, costs, operations, and demise of the Concorde. Next, it will examine the pros and cons of supersonic jets in general and whether or not it is realistic to expect supersonic intercontinental flights. Finally, the module concludes with a look at companies developing supersonic jets as well as career opportunities within the aerospace industry.

Module 9: Personal Rapid Transit

In this module we are going to explore Personal Rapid Transit (or PRT) and other exciting modes of personal transportation. This module will define and explain PRTs, as well as related terms. Then the module will discuss the similarities and differences between the PRT systems and existing modes of transportation. Next, the module will explore personal transporters and how they might fit in to the world of transportation. Finally, it will end with a look at how crossing a motorcycle with a car could, potentially, offer a solution to many transportation issues.

Module 10: Supercavitation

In this module, we will get in the water and examine some of the futuristic transportation ideas in the sea. The focus of the module will be on the concept of supercavitation, which is a technology that has been around for decades, but has been sparsely used and has some serious challenges. Scientists are figuring out solutions to some of these challenges, which may lead to a resurgence in the use of this unique technology. In the final section, we will also review some other marine transportation modes that incorporate ideas that include autonomous control and clean energy.

Module 11: Space Travel

In this module we will briefly discuss the history of space exploration and the benefits and cost associated. We'll also define words and terms related to rockets and space travel. Then we'll take a closer look at reusable rockets- how they would benefit the space industry and what challenges go into creating one. Next, we'll discuss companies that are developing commercial space travel. Finally, we'll explore careers in the space travel industry.

Module 12: Interstellar Travel

This module will identify the challenges to interstellar travel. It will explain need-to-know terms such as astronomical units, light speed, propulsion, and g-force. Then it will describe theories and the pros and cons of each theory in achieving interstellar travel. Then it will discuss the feasibility of an interstellar mission. By the end you will be able to make an informed prediction as to when, if ever, interstellar travel will be launched.

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Course Description:
This course introduces students to the newest and most cutting edge futuristic transportation technologies out there. Students gain familiarity with the history of transportation development and understand a framework with which to evaluate new transportation modes. Then the course dives into 10 different technologies on the horizon. Students examine the technologies, the pros and cons of each mode, and explore potential career paths in these emerging fields.