from the urls-we-dig-up dept
An enormous amount of cargo travels by boat, and historically, sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight. However, traveling over water isn’t a very speedy mode of transportation (typically <20 mph), but there are some possible ways to go faster (though they don’t come cheap). Here are just a few examples of sea-going ships that would definitely beat a slow boat to China.
- Chinese researchers are working on making super-fast submarines that can travel over 750 mph. The vessels would rely on supercavitation (aka forming bubbles around the ship) and some kind of liquid-membrane technology to help launch and steer the sub. It’s not clear how far along this submarine technology is, but it would be really amazing for a sub to cross the Pacific in a few hours. [url]
- Fast ships taking advantage of ground effect aerodynamics have existed for decades. Russian shipbuilders had many Ekranoplan designs that could fly low over water and efficiently transport large amounts of cargo. There was even a project with a “wing in ground” design for launching spacecraft from the equator. [url]
- Hydrofoils were also a specialty of Russian shipbuilding, and there could be a minor resurgence in passenger hydrofoils. Some Boeing 929 Jetfoils operate in Asia, but the complexity of hydrofoil vessels is a disadvantage for economical commercial transportation. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.