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

"The best fuzzy rules, the best knowledge, deal with the turning points of the system. If a race-car driver teaches you how to drive, you don't need him to show you how to drive on the straightaway. It's how he handles the curves that matters."
- Bart Kosko

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

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

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.