As the world spins deeper into the third year of a global pandemic with no sign of abating, a new space race is forming over our heads. Entry is open to all, and the tickets are literal. The Architect's Newspaper's Jonathan Hilburg explores how the world's richest men are charting new paths for the human species, and how the public are reacting to the future of private space tourism.
Elon Musk: The Latest Architecture and News
Elon Musk’s Boring Company has unveiled the latest component of their visionary plans for a network of tunnels under Los Angeles. The new “Hawthorne” test tunnel, built at the corner of SpaceX’s parking lot, forms part of Musk’s mission to reduce traffic in cities through a dual system of boring tunnels, and fully electric, autonomous transport to operate within them.
The Los Angeles project ultimately seeks to develop a large, multi-layered network with a loop of highway tunnels seeing cars traveling at 150 miles per hour. While cars will use the superhighways for a small fee, the company will also have a fleet of Teslas operating as public transport.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has released details of their plan to create the world’s first commercial Hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi. Situated on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in close proximity to both the Al Maktoum International Airport and Expo 2020 Dubai site, the HyperloopTT will begin with the construction of six miles (ten kilometers) of infrastructure, with future development potentially creating a commercial Hyperloop network across the United Arab Emirates and beyond.
According to The Economist, 47% of the work done by humans will have been replaced by robots by 2037, even those traditionally associated with university education. While the World Economic Forum estimates that between 2015 and 2020, 7.1 million jobs will be lost around the world, as "artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human employees."
It's not science fiction: the MIT Technology Review warns that the current debate over raising the minimum wage for fast food employees in the United States would accelerate their own automation. On the other hand, Silicon Valley personalities and millionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson warned that the impact of automation will force the creation of a universal basic income to compensate not only the massive unemployment that would generate these new technologies but also the hyper-concentration of the global wealth.
One advocate of this idea is the British economist Guy Standing who wrote at the Davos Forum that it "would be a sensible precaution against the possibility of mass displacement by robotization and artificial intelligence," but will automation affect architects? Will we really be replaced by robots?
Elon Musk, Architects David Benjamin and Kate Orff Among Rolling Stone's "25 People Shaping the Future"
In their latest issue, Rolling Stone has named Elon Musk "The Architect of Tomorrow," as well as listed architects David Benjamin and Kate Orff as two of their "25 People Shaping the Future in Tech, Science, Medicine, Activism and More."
At this morning’s International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, SpaceX founder and Lead Designer Elon Musk announced the most ambitious plans yet for the colonization of planets and satellites beyond Earth, including the establishment of a lunar base and a permanent Mars colony by 2022.
“The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a space-faring species than if we’re not,” said Musk during his keynote. “It’s about believing in the future and thinking the future will be better than the past.”
Already having tackled electric vehicles, space flight, and high-speed vacuum tubes, benevolent mad scientist Elon Musk’s latest foray into transportation infrastructure is ready to get off the ground, or rather, under it.
The tech mogul’s newest startup, the Boring Company, focuses on designing a subterranean network of tunnels beneath the streets of Los Angeles that could shuttle pedestrians and vehicles on electric sleds connected to a system of rails at speeds of up to 125 mph.
Now, the company has announced approval by the LA County city of Hawthorne to construct a 1.6-mile-long tunnel that will allow the technology to be tested in-full for the first time.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced via Twitter that his company’s fully-integrated solar roof system is nearly ready to be released to the public, and will begin taking orders on the shingles starting next month.
The solar roof project was announced this past October after acquiring energy services provider SolarCity for $2.1 billion. Offered in four different styles – smooth glass, textured glass, French slate and Tuscan glass – the shingles would allow homeowners to make the switch to solar without having to change their aesthetic tastes. Though exact costs have yet to be released, Musk believes the system could be more affordable than a traditional roof.
Hyperloop One has revealed images of its full-scale test track, called the DevLoop, for the first time as it prepares for its first public trial later this year. The 500-meter-long (1,640 feet) DevLoop is located in the flat terrain of the Nevada desert, just 30 minutes from Las Vegas. In its final form, the track will extend two miles between launching and receiving points.
Earlier this year, Hyperloop One announced a list of design partners that included Aecom, Arup, and Bjarke Ingels Group. Now, RB Systems—which was a finalist in the SpaceX Hyperloop One Pod Competition—has released a speculative design vision for a Hyperloop station and passenger pod. The spatial and programmatic concepts are largely experimental, as there are no precedents for this futuristic building typology.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Hyperloop One have unveiled joint designs for an autonomous transportation system and the world’s first Hyperloop pods and portals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The designs are being presented as Hyperloop One signs a deal with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), bringing the project one step closer to reality.
Elon Musk has revealed his company Tesla’s latest world-changing innovation: a solar roof system so fully integrated into a home’s architecture as to be indistinguishable from a traditional roof.
A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineering students has won the first round of a competition to design transport "pods" for Elon Musk's ultra-fast Hyperloop. Selected from more than 100 other university teams, the top teams will now have the opportunity to build their pods for a trial run on the Hyperloop Test Track (now under construction) by April 2016. If successful, the pods will be able to transport up to 30 people at speeds of 700 miles-per-hour through the Hyperloop's 12-foot diameter tube.
In the race to bring driverless cars from a futuristic fantasy to a present-day reality, developers have touted a plethora of advantages, from reduced traffic congestion on roads to improved safety thanks to the elimination of human error. But the potential widespread implementation of driverless cars could also have profound impacts on the form of our urban environments, fundamentally reshaping infrastructure and land use. As recently as a year ago, this new technology was seen as decades away; however, recently Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla, predicted that driverless cars will be capable of making cross-country treks within about two years, and a pilot program in the United Kingdom city of Milton Keynes plans to launch a fleet of driverless pod-taxis by 2018, matching Musk’s timeline.
The driverless car future could be just around the corner, and the normally slow-changing infrastructure of cities could be forced to apply quick fixes to adapt. At the same time, the full potential of driverless cars cannot be realized without implementing significant changes to the urban fabric. So how will driverless cars change how our cities work, and how will our cities adapt to accommodate them?
Hyperloop Technologies is starting to realize its high-speed transit system. As Tech.Mic reports, pipes for the project's first test tube are showing up in Nevada. Hyperloop was first outlined by Elon Musk in 2013 as a response to California's pricey bullet train plan that aim to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. The ultra-fast, energy efficient Hyperloop proposes to send pods of people through a depressurized tube at speeds up to 700 miles-per-hour. It is believed that the new system could be running as soon as 2020.
The world's energy infrastructure may soon undergo significant change; Tesla Motors recently unveiled the Powerwall, a compact, lithium-ion battery pack that will allow residents to autonomously consume energy by drawing from their own sun-powered reserve. For just $3,500, you can purchase an attractive, wall-mounted battery capable of storing up to 10 kilowatt-hours of energy - about a third of what the average US household uses daily. Beyond this, the company will also be offering scalable Powerpacks to businesses and utility companies that will allow limitless storage. Powerwalls will go out for delivery this summer.
Often, it is only with hindsight that we can truly understand our world; looking back at how important certain events and people proved to be is much easier than predicting their importance at the time. Still, guessing who will be remembered in posterity is a fun game, so The Atlantic asked various industry leaders "Who Will Tomorrow's Historians Consider Today's Greatest Inventors?" The answers span across business, science, technology and design, and among the 9 nominations there are a few names that architects and urban designers may find interesting. Read on after the break to find out just who they are.
Imagine driving your car into a sizable aluminum pod and being shot 800 miles per hour through an elevated, shotgun-like barrel to arrive at a city 400 miles away within 30 minutes. According to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors, Californians will be doing this within the next decade.