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Air / Rafts


Peer of the Realm
I have anouther question;
What is your concept of the far future? Do people drive an Air/Raft as the "family car"? Or do people take public transportation?

If the first most tech 12+ cities would look sort of like Corrosant in the last few Star Wars movies. If the last then there would be very few.

Peter V.
I can see mass transit dominating in artificial habitats (arcologies, space stations, etc.) but I do't expect it to replace personally owned vehicles in most places. I tend to assume that there are personal grav vehicles, but that they are typically a lot less robust than an air/raft. I assume the air/raft is the grav equivalent of a Land Rover.

I also assume that there is realtively little hand-flying of grav vehicles. Most flying is done by on-board commputers, with varying degrees of central traffic management depending on Law Level.
It would probably depend on the world and more spefically the city as to what suits their needs. More aptly it'd be a healthy mix of the two....like New York in the Fifth Element.
I think it depends on the society and decisions that are made at various points in TL development. Using our current world as an example, you have two different models of how to organize a society based on transportation.

The American model: After WWII the decision was made to invest infrastructure money on Highways and to 'embrace the automobile'. The result is a society with limited public transportation outside major cities and significant trafic congestion even where public transportation is available. The car has become a nessecity of life in the US. There are few places left where you can even buy a loaf of bread without a car.

The European model: Heavy emphasis on public transportation and limited access to cars. In Holland for example, the driving age in the 80s (and possibly still is) 25. In Germany there is no publicly funded drivers education, so driving school costs about 2,000 DM (in the mid 90s), and you have to have a completion certificate from a driving school to apply for a licence.

The result of these decisions are radically different societies at aproximatly the same TL. Of course these are not the only reasons for the differences, but they are a significant factor.

So, I guess it depends on what kind of society to want to model as to how prevelent personal transportation will be.

Just my thoughts,

I think atmosphere has a significant impact as well. Even sealed air/rafts won't be very common on a planet with a toxic atmosphere. Very few will run the risk of a leak. Corrosive and insidious atmospheres will eat up the air/raft, seals and all.

IMTU, in cities transportation is mainly public transit. Grav vehicles such as air/rafts are reserved for law enforcement and other government workers, VIPs, and off-world tourists. Spaceship crews use them a lot to run errands around the star town and even into the bigger cities when the star port is located well away from them.

Air/rafts are very common around the starport/star town. Also common out in rural areas.
The reason I asked was I have always envisioned Traveller urban areas sort of like the Corasant model. An Air/raft at 3 to 4 DTons is a very large vehical in comparison to current cars and is very expensive as well.
I guess I will have to try a design a Honda "Civic" sized grav-vehical in both Striker and T20 to see what the "average man" would be driving.
Peter V.
I always saw it was dependent up on the population of the planet and the tech level, trade classification, etc. If you look at the population of most planets, they don’t support a planet-wide city like Corscucant – nor do they support the New York City of the 5th Element.

I’m fond of cities of that nature, but think that they’d be relegated to TL15 worlds, and not too many at that.

As for personal vehicle vs. public transit – any city beyond a certain size *must* have alternative means or it’ll grind to a halt.

I see at least three levels of transport.

Private vehicles on sparsely settled worlds

Public vehicles (Taxis, Busses). At higher tech level these may be autocontrolled grav vehicles, either taxis or private vehicles under central control. This last has already been explored by the Moeller Aircar, which is a light VTOL aircraft controlled by a traffic control center, and by Boeing who studied an automated system of VTOL delivery vehicles.

Mass transit (trolley cars, subways, tubes, etc)

I expect all three are available on most worlds in various degrees, depending on population and law level. I don't see urban mass transit on a pop 5-6 world, and there is no room for private grav vehicles on a pop 10 world.
Originally posted by PVernon:

I guess I will have to try a design a Honda "Civic" sized grav-vehical in both Striker and T20 to see what the "average man" would be driving.
Here's one in T20. I had to improvise with the autopilot, gievn that the vehicle design sequence makes no mention of computers except in the outline.

The Carina Grav Car

The Carina is typical of the small grav vehicles used for short-range personal transportation on mid-to-high Tech Level worlds. It carries one driver and up to four passengers, with room for reasonsble amounts of luggage. It can operate for up to 20 hours without recharging; this is usually sufficient for a week of routine use. The autopilot handles routine navigation, using information from the onboard video system and a central urban navigation system.

Class: Grav Vehicle
Cost: Cr52,121
TL: 11
Size: Large (650vl)
Streamlining: none
Pressurized: No
Climat Control: yes
Drive Train: Grav (1)
Crew: 1
Passengers: 4
Cargo Space: 72vls
Fuel: none
Range: 3000km (20 hours)
Max Speed: 155 kph
Acceleration: 15 kph/sec
EP Output: 36.5 EP-Hours (Modern Battery)
EP Consumption: 1.825
Agility: 0
Initiative: +0
AC: 9 (-1 size)
AR: 0
SI: 27
Visual: 100m, Video Display, LI option
Sensors: none
Comm: 2-way Radio
Comp: Synaptic Autopilot Computer
Originally posted by Paraquat Johnson:
Tom, what's the sticker price on that beauty.
Second line of the datablock -- Cr 52,121. If you apply a 20% "standard design" discount, it comes down to ~Cr 42,000. Considering the increase in per-capita income between TL7 and TL11, this is almost certainly affordable to the average consumer. Factor in a longer working life and corresponding loan period, and it will take a smaller bite out of the paycheck than most cars today.

The gravtrain is about 90% of the total cost. If you want a true urban car limited to perhaps 100 kph, you can lop off another Cr10,000 or so. Higher performance is correspondingly expensive.
Tom, Very nice and the sticker price is about right for the average "Joe" in T20 it's what I was looking for. Thanks
Peter V.
Originally posted by Antony:
And for those who like FFS here is a TL9 Air/Raft from my Universe.

Skyreach class open-topped aircar

Nice design, but I think it really illustrates my comment about Air/Raft as Land Rover. While your design is very well-suited for Travellers adventuring in the outback, it's not really a "daily driver" for commuting around town. It's too fast, and thus too expensive. And it's open-topped, which isn't comfortable for most people, especially at up to 300 kph.

If you design a grav vehicle with about half the speed and an enclosed cabin, you get something like this:
Fireblade Grav Car
I don't know Tom, Anthony's is a tech 8/9 vehical for 109Kcr. If you were to use one of the various methods of reducing the price at higher techs then that 109 comes down to reasonable price. Produced at say tech 13 it should be about 50%. That is a little pricy but not realy that bad.
Peter V.
The principal problem I had with the TL9 Air/rafts, incidently I do have an enclosed version on my site as well, was the CG lifters. Anything smaller than 2dt and the minimum size has an effect. I have just pensilled together 1 1dt enclosed air/raft for a gross cost of 95,683 Cr at TL9 or with a 10% discount 86,115 Cr. I havn't worked out its performance yet, but both the CG lifters and MHD turbine reached their minimum size.

Conclusion TL9 air/rafts will be generally big and chunky vehicles (picture a vintage Bentley) as TL improves it should be possible to build the vehicles smaller without losing fittings.