Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"As the rate of technological development speeds up, the gap between science fiction and what we’re living now is getting narrower all the time."
- Richard Morgan

Air-Taxi  
  A flying taxicab with autonomous features.  

The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars and finally moved onto a smooth upward-slanting track and gained speed. Then it lifted upward with a slight jolt. Seldon, who had automatically been strapped in by a webbed restraint, felt himself pushed down into his seat and then up into the webbing. He said, "That didn't feel like antigravity."
"It wasn't," said Hummin. "That was a small jet reaction. Just enough to take us up to the tubes." What appeared before them now looked like a cliff patterned with cave openings, much like a checkerboard. Hummin maneuvered toward the D-7 opening, avoiding other air-taxis that were heading for other tunnels.
"You could crash easily," said Seldon, clearing his throat.
"So I probably would if everything depended on my senses and reactions, but this taxi is computerized and the computer can overrule me without trouble. The same is true for the other taxis. --Here we go."
They slid into D-7 as if they had been sucked in and the bright light of the open plaza mellowed, turning a warmer yellow hue. Hummin released the controls and sat back. He drew a deep breath and said, "Well, that's one stage successfully carried through. We might have been stopped at the station. In here, we're fairly safe." The ride was smooth and the walls of the tunnel slipped by rapidly. There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.
"How fast are we going?" asked Seldon. Hummin cast an eye briefly at the controls. "Three hundred and fifty kilometers an hour."
"Magnetic propulsion?"
"Yes. You have it on Helicon, I imagine."
"Yes. One line. I've never been on it myself, though I always meant to. I don't think it's anything like this."
"I'm sure it isn't. Trantor has many thousands of kilometers of these tunnels honeycombing the land subsurface and a number that snake under the shallower extensions of the ocean. It's the chief method of long-distance travel."
From Prelude to Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1988
Additional resources -

Compare to the hoverlimo from John Varley's 1992 novel Steel Beach. Also, see the Tin Cabby from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight, the gyrocab from You are Forbidden! by Jerry Sheldon, the helical from John Weston's 1950 story The Heli-Cab Hack and the aircab from Harry Bates' 1940 story Farewell to the Master.

Thanks to Connor Lawrence for writing in with this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Prelude to Foundation
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Prelude to Foundation
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Articles related to Transportation
UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Is Teleportation A Death Sentence?
Musk Tweets A Boring Tunnel Pic

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.