Futurists of the not-so-long ago predicted hat by now we’d be getting from Point A to Point B with a flying car or a bullet train. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting closer…fast (thanks, Elon).
There are companies out there — some more secretive than others — that are bringing the transportation and automotive industries to new levels. But who are they and what are the chances that they’ll actually have an impact anytime soon? We take a look at a five groundbreaking companies that are bound to change the way we live our lives.
Funding: $92.6 million
Fundamentals: One of the most well-known companies in the transportation space, Hyperloop One — if successful — will forever change the way people travel. Building a high-speed train that can run at close to 750 mph, travelers will no longer be subject to cancellations or weather delays. Imagine being able to live in New York and work in Los Angeles. Hyperloop One could make that a reality, giving travelers the ability to travel from one coast to the other in 45 minutes. We still may be decades away from using this daily, the company recently made a big announcement regarding Russia and transcontinental routes in Eastern Europe.
Fundamentals: Larry Page, the co-founder of Google has secretly started funding — with $100 million of his own money — Zee Aero, a company that has patented designs for a “personal aircraft”, also known as a flying car. Not much is known about the company other than the fact that it is located near Google — though there are no ties to the company — and that it has patented a design using 10 propellers to lift the vehicle above ground. The company is currently still in stealth mode and hasn’t revealed much to the public. While there is no viable product to show for as of now, the company is surely leading in the “flying car” space. Definitely worth keeping an ear out for in the future.
Funding: $30 million
Fundamentals: Skytran is taking the concept of public transportation and bringing it to a whole new level. Hovering 20 feet above the ground with the ability to reach speeds of 150 mph, the self-guided monorail could potentially turn a 2-hour commute into a 10-minute trip. Unlike the Hyperloop, which would stretch from city to city, Skytran would be built within cities, minimizing the time it would take to construct. The company has already built a 900 foot-test station in Tel-Aviv and will build a 26-mile route in Lagos by the end of 2016. What’s even crazier is the fact that one pod will only need about as much energy as two hairdryers since it propels itself forward using magnets, sort of like bullet trains in Japan currently do. If they continue to build on their momentum, we’ll definitely be hearing more from them soon.
Funding: $74 million
Fundamentals: Imagine never having to visit a car dealership and deal with a pushy car salesman again. That’s what Shift, a newish startup with a ton of funding behind it is trying to do. The concept is fairly simple. Potential car buyers browse through thousands of cars on the Shift website. Once they find one they like, Shift brings the car to them to test drive. They’ll even handle all of the paperwork. No hassle, less stress and virtually no paperwork.
On the other side, sellers can post their cars and get a free selling price estimate, which Shift boasts as more than they would get at a regular car dealership. The company’s goal is to make the process as easy as possible for the buyer/seller without Shift ever having to take ownership of the vehicle. They’re like a middleman that has your best interests in mind. And with a Series B round of $50 million, it looks like the demand is there for them to become the next big thing.
Funding: $24 million
Fundamentals: Every modern car collects data over time. The problem has always been in finding a way to collect this data and deliver it to the everyday driver in language they can understand. Automatic has created a solution to this problem. The company has created a device that can plug into any car’s diagnostics port giving the user the ability to act as their own car’s expert.If you notice something wrong with your car, the app will tell you exactly what it is. No more guessing at what the problem is. It’ll also provide the user with real time feedback giving the user the ability to drive more efficiently. The company is on the up, with a viable and sustainable product as well as a smart team leading the way. If they continue on their current path Automatic could alter the way we as drivers view car maintenance.