BMW : Activate the Future Doc

Check this! Pretty interesting. Syd Mead + Buzz Aldrin included.


Those were great. I do feel like we are at the beginning of a big change in transportation in a way we have not seen yet. I’m also very excited about the real possibility, and what seems to be more like reality of high speed rail in the U.S.
When I moved from Dallas to Chicago I sold my jeep and now take public transportation only and I love it. I have a zip car card if I ever need to drive anywhere.

I loved the comment about it only took 66 years from the wright brothers first flight to walking on the moon, but cars have yet to make that same sort of leap.

Awesome. Good procrastination material for me. Good thing only 2/4 are released. I love the way Syd Mead talks about things… one day I want to be in an inspirational video, too, when I’m old and wrinkly.

Wow, what the hell is that? A car company admitting that car companies have been not very bright about
the future? Thats a strong statement to base a more innovative movement on.

Haven’t seen all the content yet. It’s overwhelming and “awesome”. And makes me proud to be their customer.


It will probably take another hundred years to connect all of those red lines. They should have gone for the green line right off the bat, as close to laser-straight as they could publicly condemn.

And after that, the blue line; my favorite “blue water” scheme… The US Trans-Continental Canal System; a deep-water canal, with locks and a series of recreation lakes/marinas/freight hubs connecting the confluence of the two major commercially navigable US rivers, the Ohio and Mississippi, to Los Angeles Harbor. Finish up with dredging and connecting the Mississippi to Lake Michigan (which has been kicked around for years, and would require that hundreds (or more) bridges be rebuilt), and dredging the Ohio … and who would need the Panama Canal?

Major cost, but major benefits; initially construction and supporting industry (materials) jobs, ship and barge building jobs, infrastructure construction, reduced transcontinental shipping costs, recreational facilities and boatbuilding, distribution of fresh water, continuation of supporting jobs (lock operators, canal maintenance, equipment maintenance, etc) not to mention the military aspects … crikey, at our current rate, three of four years of “redirected” US defense budget would pay for it. And revenue from Atlantic/Pacific international shipping traffic would maintain it.

Time to load that pipe again. …

Obama and Joe Biden (a big rail fan) are pushing for this high speed rail plan but that’s going to be hard to get by with republicans.
What I don’t want to see is a half a## job. There is talk of boosting the current rail system to 125mph but if you have ever taken Amtrak you know the biggest delay is slow moving freight trains which currently have priority over passenger trains. We need dedicated high speed passenger trains. I would rather have this then go to Mars.

ooo, we’re moving dangerously close to the Shameless Train Appreciation Thread with this.

Truth be know, 125 mph rail system is an Obama pipe-dream; if he could, by some magical incantation cause the rail system in the US to be improved to allow passenger trains to maintain an 80 mph average OVER LONG DISTANCES rail service utilization would increase.

For all of the rhetoric floating around about the need for “high-speed rail” there is no public money available for it. And won’t be for quite some time.

I wouldn’t care about the availability of “public money”. We both know it’s printed.
I’d wory more about the pipe dream that gets funded with that money.

Why does everybody assume that public transport has to be handcuffed to rails ? :unamused:

I’d built some “dedicated high speed” ROADS instead. Let everything roll fully computer
controlled and automated to spare the chaos that blocks the flow on highways, but for
heavens sake get rid of the rails. They are evil!


Why is rail evil?
Care to elaborate on what a dedicated high speed road is? What would make it more efficient, faster and less congested then highways?
I would much rather sit in a nice seat going 150+MPH sleeping, reading… then go 100mph in a car, stopping for gas, dealing with bad drivers, weather slowing me down, having to stop to rest in a car on long trips.

mrtwills: Why is rail evil?

Think about it. Why do the high speeed railroads in Europe lose customers every year to plane traffic?
Think about blockages:

How does a train swerve around those rocks?

Care to elaborate on what a dedicated high speed road is? What would make it more efficient, faster and less congested then highways?

It would have much fewer approach and departure lanes; only one or two per main city. It would have the cars drive
in fully computer controlled mode; excursus:

I had the luck to drive a fully optioned 7-series in the last weeks. That one could already do the job of driving from one city to another on its own. But it only could, as it is not allowed to, so the driver has to interact with the computers occasionally, which causes much more stress and confusion than any other drive, as you never know when exactly the car will drop out of computer control.

I am sure though, this difficulties could be solved on dedicated high speed roads or lanes, that interact with the cars as well.

I would much rather sit in a nice seat going 150+MPH sleeping, reading… then go 100mph in a car, stopping for gas, dealing with bad drivers, weather slowing me down, having to stop to rest in a car on long trips.

Instead think about a car, that is capable of doing all that, but with the privacy and customization that only your own
car(t) can offer. Plus you could still use it when getting off the computer controlled high speed highway into the city
of tomorrow, but you’d be able to steer it yourself on the last mile.

No time gaps for changing transport devices, no large clusters of railroad stations with attached car parks, just better use of systems the US already has plentyful of.

An alternative “water highway” like the one LEW scetched out would be much better use of the surplus freshly printed
money. The railroad is a dead end of yesteryear.


Why is rail evil?

The four enemies of the railroad system: autumn, winter,… :sunglasses:

But streets aren’t any better. Here you are:

After some frosty nights, the streets look like that:

Summer heat isn’t any better to road surfaces:

These road damages cost the public and individuals xyz millions of dollars in repairs of roads and cars.
Despite that, traffic jams due to bad drivers (and accidents caused by them) occur routinely on streets, rarely on rail tracks.

Blockages happen on roads too. Snow, ice, flooding, broken down cars. Here is a picture I took just last week in Chicago about 1/2 mile from downtown on lake shore drive. In fact, in general rail is much less likely to be delayed to snow, fog and storms like air travel and driving.

I would assume you need a new car that can be adapted to the computer controlled system? I don’t own a car, like millions of other people I live in the city. Will I get on a high speed bus(its like a train but with tires).

It was just reported this week that gas prices hit an all time high for this time of year. But maybe the new car you have to buy will be electric. Except electric at the moment and for a while are not ideal for long commutes. Maybe the road could somehow provide power to the car (like a track to a train).

Is your solution of millions of cars somehow better then a central rail station with a parking lot? Which may not be needed in the “city of tomorrow” if more cities had light rail to get people around.

Although I thought that driving scene in i, robot was cool too.

I don’t see much sense in equipping cars with electric drives because they need to store the electric energy somehow, which is non-sense from a technical point of view when it comes to considerable amounts of energy (as needed to move a car, not to drive a mobile phone or notebook). There is (and there was for ages) a better way of electrically powered transportation: rail vehicles. But to make them work for everyone, both social and logistic aspects have to be covered. The social ones: A car represents freedom of action and social status. These advantages get sacrificed, when seating people of different classes of the society (or even easier: people one doesn’t know) in the same cabin, in a train with a fixed schedule. These aspects have to be respected to make rail vehicles successful.
Another point would be, to reduce delays due to organisational and operational flaws to zero. Therefore, the first action (before caring about new vehicle types and so on) has to be to completely separate transport of passengers and goods by building additional railways.

I am in no way against cars. I hope in 10 years the vast majority of cars for sale do not use gas. For getting around town smaller electric cars would be great, especially as battery technology grows. I would not want to take a train from ny to la, flying makes more sense there. But for mid range trips like LA to SF, getting around the east coast, Chicago to detroit, st. louis or minneapolis I think rail is a great option. In reality, we will need all forms of transportation and they all need to be more efficient.

There is not one best solution.

All of this really makes me wonder how limited our worlds were when walking, and the speed of a horse, was a fast as we could go…

Then again, it might not have been too bad. Kind of like when you have candles burning after the power goes out during a storm… not as good as electricity, but the candles aren’t dependent upon “technology” to stay on.

If a road is blocked (which happens every day) thousands of drivers can take another road.
or just swerve around smaller objects.
TRAINS can’t, they wait in a queue. (which happens every day)

Be careful what you wish for. Have a look at the european high speed railways and their
real world delay times first.

There is a reason for the US not having those trains until now. You can’t earn a buck on
running them. They only hold up against the car if constantly fed with federal money.


You think the highway system is not costing billions to maintain?
The US does have trains but they are slow and outdated.

I have no car and I’m not missing it, because I have everything in reach by foot, by bicycle or by my 2-stroke scooter. For longer distances (>20 km), I take the train.
When it comes to the question why someone needs a car, the answer most often reveals a long chain of wrong estimations and wrong decisions which are compensated by the use of a car. The car often eats up a significant amount of a household’s income (in Germany that can be really painfull due to the high gas rates), but for many, it is still sort of a no-brainer. You get in, drive there, get out.

Wenn der ICE mal wieder hinterm Güterzug hinterher fährt, dann kann das natürlich nix werden :smiley:

Federal money is always involved. If car manufacturers also had to build and maintain the roads, their products are driving on, there would be no cars. They would never have been able to finance that in advance.

Lew: The world was limited in the same sense as it is today. Middle age towns took 1 hour to walk across. Today, towns take 1 hour to drive across.

Incorrect. On the train from Florence to Munich, the line was blocked (I assumed because of a rock slide like you pictured). We diverted to a different track and it added about an hout to the trip. They gave us a couple of drinks as compensation for the inconvenience. I couldn’t do that and drive.

What makes you think European trains aren’t subsidized? What makes you think road travel, air travel or any other travel in the US isn’t subsidized? Taxes are used to build roads. Why can’t they be used to build tracks?

There is absolutely no reason for trains not to exist along with the car. There are some people, me included, who prefer being a “slave” to a schedule rather than wasting 2-3 times the amount of time sitting in rush-“hour” traffic. I believe Chicago just won for worst traffic in the US. I take Metra instead. It is really the only way to fly.

As a matter of fact, Metra’s biggest limitation are their parking lots at the stations. Expand them, and you will get increased ridership. Yup. I guess riding the train sucks. :unamused: