Transportation - Driverless Vehicles, Alternative Energy Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that for many households, transportation costs are the second highest expense after housing costs. According to the 2014 White House report entitled, "An Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment", each year American spend about 5.5 billion hours in traffic, which accumulates to about $120 billion in lost time and extra fuel costs. Additionally, over 33,000 lives were lost last year due to traffic fatalities, many of which could have likely been prevented. However, using alternative energy sources and improving conditions on the road will be a great benefit. For example, individuals can save about $750 to $1,200 a year on fuel by using electric vehicles as opposed to gasoline vehicles. 

Sebastian Thrun: Google's driverless car

Motor vehicles accidents are the number one cause of death for young people in America, and most of these accidents are due to human error. With a goal to save a million lives per year, Sebastian Thrun helped build a self-driving car which uses sensors to detect conditions on the road and then responds by driving in the safest way possible. Not only does this car save lives by preventing accidents, it reduces time wasted in traffic and reduces the amount of gas wasted while idling in traffic. In regards to the objectives stated, the following presentation has been ranked as follows: 

Elon Musk: The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity ...

The Tesla is a lighter, aluminum based car that helps sustain resources by running on electricity instead of fossil fuels. Although the car has a high initial cost, there will be little dependence on buying gas and manufacturers hope to produce it at a cost that will be more affordable. Musk also discussed SpaceX, or the goal to save millions of dollars by creating reusable rockets. Lastly, Musk encouraged all to save money and consume energy responsibly by investing in solar panels through low financing and a low initial cost. 

Shai Agassi: A new ecosystem for electric cars

Using electronic cars with charge stations and battery swap outlets will be cheaper than using gasoline cars, while also maintaining standards of convenience and safety. 

Sanjay Dastoor: A skateboard, with a boost

Using a motor and battery from remote-controlled toy planes and cars, Dastoor created an electric skateboard that uses 20 times less energy for every mile you travel than a car. It is small enough to carry, easy to charge, and it allows one to travel for a fraction of the cost of having different vehicles. 

Bill Ford: A future beyond traffic gridlock

In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, Ford has been selling electronic cars. Other countries around the world save time and money by creating networks of sharing cars and having smart parking systems that allow individuals to reserve parking spots before getting to a location, which then saves fuel that would be lost from driving and looking for parking spots. 

Andreas Raptopoulos: No roads? There's a drone for that

Over one billion people in the world do not have access to roads during the year, which prevents them from attaining medicine, food, and other necessities. This problem can be addressed through the creation of a small, electric, autonomous vehicle. This vehicle was created with the ability to aerially transport two kilograms of goods over 10 kilometers in 15 minutes for the price of 24 cents, meaning that individuals in need can get essential resources fast. 

Dennis Hong: Making a car for blind drivers

In order to provide the freedom that comes from operating motor vehicles, a car was created that allows blind individuals to drive with the help of built-in visual and informational devices. With the help of cameras, GPS, and scanners, the car can see obstacles on the road, process the information, and relay the information to the driver. The driver can then respond and maneuver the car accordingly. Although this car has not yet been proven to be as safe or safer than current vehicles, it gives great hope to those who otherwise cannot drive. 

Chris Gerdes: The future race car -- 150mph, and no driver

With the use of a driverless car, individuals can press a button and be safely directed home. This would prevent accidents-and subsequent costs-that often come as a result of drowsy or impaired drivers on the road. This type of autonomous car has been created for racecars, so that race car drivers can also be protected. 

Larry Burns: The future of cars

In order to reduce the use of combustion engines, there is the possibility for future cars to run on energy from hydrogen. This hydrogen can come from fossil fuels, biofuels, and other products that produce energy. Community throughout America should recognize their resources and how they can create this alternative energy source. 

Yves Behar: A supercharged motorcycle design

This is the innovative new design for a fully electric motorcycle that can go 150 miles per hour.