From electric cars to the Hyperloop, there’s a lot of innovation going on in transportation these days. But many of the engineering marvels we are just beginning to see were actually predicted a long time ago by none other than Walt Disney.
At the end of a 1958 Disneyland episode “Magic Highway USA,” Disney introduces a segment that he decribes as "a realistic look at the road ahead and what tomorrow's motorists can expect in the years to come.” In the segment, the narrator describes futuristic concepts like tube travel and autonomous vehicles.
While the ideas probably sounded farfetched at the time, a lot of Disney’s predictions actually came true or are on their way to becoming a reality.
Here’s a look at some of the most bold predictions Disney presented — some that are here today and some that we may still see in the future.
Disney forecast that dashboard panels featuring built-in safety controls and electronic operating devices would become commonplace. These panels would show you real-time traffic updates as well as other information like recommended speed. Of course navigation systems and other similar features exist in a lot cars today.
Safety mirrors would also be replaced with "television picture." Some automakers, including Audi, are already beginning to do just that by installing cameras on the car that replace the mirrors. The captured footage and other data is then shown on the windshield.
Walt Disney even foresaw self-driving cars.
Tech companies and automakers including Google, Apple, BMW, and Uber are all working on this technology now.
Disney's vision of autonomous vehicles was a lot more impressive than what companies are working on today, though. The vehicles featured in the video can split apart, allowing for each passenger to go to their destination in a separate pod.
Disney also envisioned a future where cars are built to work on all kinds terrain. Cars will be able to transform from land to water, easily, according to Disney.
Highways would also begin to look a lot different. In the video, the narrator says future generations will witness "miles of tubular highways."
While we haven't seen this yet, there are several companies developing Hyperloop technology.
A rendering of what a Hyperloop station could like, as proposed by architect students at UCLA.
However, one thing is for sure these advancements are leading to a safer and more efficient vision of the future of travelling, now all we need is for Disney to predict what we'll have in another 57 years, and do as Walt would see fit, dream it up and make it a reality.
Banner Photo Credit: Disney