The Next Frontier airs on CNN International on Saturday 11th February 2023 at 11:00 GMT

In a new episode of The Next Frontier, CNN’s Rahel Solomon explores the future of living and how we will travel by land, sea, and air in the years leading up to 2050.

One travel solution that has generated a lot of hype over the last decade is the hyperloop. The proposed ‘train-in-a-tube’ is looking to upend the way we travel. Netherlands-based Hardt Hyperloop is aiming to bring this high-speed technology to life. Co-founder and CCO Mars Geuze explains the vision, “To me, the next frontier is to realise sustainable, high-speed, convenient hyper transport. Initially, we started out with an investment from the Dutch railways. So, we exist by the grace of the traditional industry also daring to invest into us.”


The future-forward concept is actually built on the back of a 19th century idea, where compressed air propelled railcars through a network of pipes. Geuze says that this solution is better for the environment, “Transport is responsible for about 23% of greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s estimated that the energy consumption of transport will grow by about 70% towards 2050. In the hyperloop, because you remove the aerodynamic resistance, you reduce the energy consumption, you become a much more sustainable solution.”

Companies around the world are racing to make their own hyperloop, but Geuze says it is more collaborative than competitive, with a collective goal to make the world more connected, “We reached out to all the other hyperloop companies to ask whether we could work together on a single standard. It’s very important that we have international collaboration on hyperloop from day one because we need to make sure that we end up with a single hyperloop system. Because once you cross the borders, you want to be able to go directly from any origin to any destination without having to transfer to a different system.”

Rhode Island-based company REGENT believes that the future of travel lies in the sea, aiming to enhance the way we travel between seaboard cities and islands with the Seaglider. Co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer describes the idea as a mix between a boat and an aeroplane, “They combine the affordability, and accessibility, and convenience of a boat, of ferry transportation, with the high speed and long ranges of an aircraft.”

The all-electric maritime vehicle is designed to float, foil, and fly along dock-to-dock routes. Thalheimer says REGENT are currently building a full-scale prototype and has ambitions for passenger test flights by 2024. By 2050, he hopes to have large capacity Seagliders in operation with ranges up to 800km, “As the battery technology advances, or as we get other sustainable forms of energy storage and power, like say, hydrogen power, we can upgrade these systems.”

Next, Solomon explores an aerial approach to the future of urban transit. VoloCity is an all-electric, manned, drone-like aircraft that serves as an air taxi. It is designed for single passenger, intra-city transit with defined routes. German manufacturer Volocopter designed the craft and CEO Dirk Hoke explains the vision, “We want to be adding a new modality without adding to the congestion and to the emissions of this world. With that we decided from the beginning to fly fully electric.”

Hoke says the company are also working on larger crafts for other future transportation needs, “We also designed a VoloRegion which will be a five-seater, connecting regions and cities up to a distance of 200 km. We have also the VoloDrone which is intended to carry cargo up to 200 kg, and all of these will be connected by our VoloIQ platform which enables us not only to operate and maintain the vehicle but also do the booking and security checks.”

Finally, the programme sees how Colorado-based Boom Supersonic is working to bring supersonic travel back to the skies. Founder and CEO Blake Scholl lays out his vision for the future of air travel, “The last frontier in air travel was more than half a century ago when we went from propeller aircraft into the jet age, and it’s been a long time since we had a step forward. I think the next frontier is all about making the planet more accessible, about having flights that are faster, more affordable, more convenient, and dramatically more sustainable.”