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Losing our brains with disruptive technologies (XV): Motion disordered.

Have a beautiful Friday.

Today I would like to start our next saga issue: The motion industries defined as the Move-Transit-Transportation-Logistics activities. And how do each and all of the transportation technologies have pulled and pushed the industry to our days? Where we are and where do we go from here in relation to motion technologies?

Human beings are always on the move. Since its primitive times, our nature has been to move from one place to another one. We were designed by God and the Universe to be in constant motion. With time humans evolved from nomad to settlers, but definitely, the transportation technologies were escalating, one move above the last move. Are you aware that we need a strategic cognitive map for the motion industries? It is urgently required.

Habanero bride 6 edited

“”The bride was left on her wedding day”. Size: 56 cm x 34 cm, an aquarelle exercise by Eleonora Escalante. Watercolor paper Guarro-Canson 240 GSM. It is not for sale.

Currently, we have different types of transportation schemes, classified by the nature of its conditions in four main group segments: (1) terrestrial transportation (land); (2) maritime and fluvial transportation (water);  (3) aerial transportation (air); and (4) Spacecraft Transportation.

Let´s dig a bit into each of them, ingesting a skim context and past background review:

  1. Terrestrial Transportation.

Even with the wheel, the way we moved was tied to horses. For thousands of years, humans relied literally on their feet to walk from one place to another one. Their main objective was to walk (use our legs) in order to move from A to B.  With time, our ancestors started to exploit the help of other humans (usually slaves) to transport things and building materials. Later, they domesticated animals like dogs, cattle, oxen, horses, donkeys, reindeers, camels, goats, alpacas or llamas, elephants, and even ostriches. The transportation creatures varied in accordance with the ancient culture and its location. Until the discovery of the wheel which changed it all. Once the wheel was utilized in multiform of carriages, these were used not just to transport material possessions or people but for war.

Wheel vehicles required road infrastructure. Any type of carriage required a homogeneous land smooth plane platform or flat surface, the adequate roads to facilitate transportation at considerable distances. Romans were the first civilization who understood that road construction was crucial for their economic expansion, much more essential and beyond the commercial synergies, yet for military crusades and communication. Any wheeled vehicle was pulled by animals of burden, particularly horses. From that point in time, there is still enough evidence of the roads left by the Romans in Europe and some parts of the Middle East. The Romans road system took centuries to be built, and it was functioning for at least 2,000 years until the XVI century. During the medieval era, the monarchies did not invest in terrestrial road infrastructure, but in France; with the coming into court of the Duke of Sully (XVI century); it was created a national road french network of 24,000 km, covered by a layer of crushed stone.  On the XVII century, aristocrats, public officers, and businessmen were able to buy their own horse-drawn carriages, but the low-class people were able to lease them collectively. As the demand increased, in consequence, the construction of roads was required. Napoleón, the french Emperor also loved to build roads for his Empire aspirations. Nevertheless, it wasn´t until the XVIII century that our ancestors had the technological and engineering knowledge through formal education to build modern roads with technical “savoir-faire”.

carriage driver

Carriage Driver. Source: public domain. Pinterest.

The first industrial revolution opened the door for the car; in parallel to the train transportation systems. During the first part of the XIX century, George Stephenson contributed to the locomotive deployment. Between 1830 to 1870, Great Britain built its railroad transportation order with success, converting itself in the role model for the rest of Europe and the United States. For the first time in history, any person could travel by using the train system, and it was not a luxury. The private sector was stimulated by competition, in conjunction all together with the different governments which assumed the whole regulation to the building of the railroads. Some countries decided to establish firm state dominion to the railroad systems, meanwhile in other countries decided to leave it in the hands of private efforts through extended years of public concessions.

Panhard et Levassor 1891-1939

Panhard and Levassor 1891-1939. Source: Public Domain.

The automobiles disrupted the way. The auto-motor industry arose during the first part of the XX century. But different motor prototype vehicles emerged since the french Nicolas Cugnot in 1769 model (steam carriage) throughout the XVIII and the XIX centuries: Evans,  Murdoch, Trevithick, Gordon, Gurney, James, Summers & Ogle, Hancock, Church, Mecerony & Squires, Dudgeon, Butler, Daimler, Benz, Panhard, Royce, Maybach, Levassor, Serpollet, de Dion, Bouton, Biggon, Roots, Duryea, Olds, Haynes, Winton, King, Maxwell, Apperson, Riker, Clarke, Stanley, White, and Ford.

Between 1900 to 1912, the car inventors´ main concern was to create a model that could operate well. Three motor technologies were competing at the same time: steam engine, electric and explosion engine or internal combustion. Guess which technology won? the last one, internal combustion technology.  Particularly during WWI, the military cars and cargo trucks to transport weapons and soldiers appeared as a test pilot reality. In parallel, the passenger buses and electric trams began to dethrone the trains. At short distances, the buses and electric trams were preferred meanwhile the construction of highways for cars and buses flourished. The majority of highly industrialized nations that had public state ownership rail systems decided to keep it in parallel to the car-automobile system, by investing in its maintenance but not in growth expansion for the new markets which were only satisfied with the road vehicles. The door to door transportation requirements were satisfied by the automobile industry (freight services and individual or family cars), and the train subways or city metros subsisted in those countries where their leaders kept them and continued designing and maintaining its improvement, not just to compete against the cars, but through state subsidy, to make it affordable in quality and velocity.

Evolution of tech automobile

Evolution of automobile Power Technologies-

In many countries, the car was thought to substitute the rest of the transportation systems. It was a mistake for these societies to stop the train and railway development during the XX century. In many developing nations, the short-sighted vision of their leaders stopped the train-railway development for more than 100 years, meanwhile, the highways and roads were not adapted for the increasing car demand. Nowadays excessive car traffic is a pain for many citizens and societies. What a difference should have been now, if the leaders of one century ago, would have thought that demographics were enough relevant cause to keep and invest in railroads, metros, trams, and local fluvial-maritime routes.

2. Transportation by water:

Since the beginning of human history, the primitive homo sapiens learned to do raft boats made of grass, tree trunks tied to floating reeds.

Transportation timeline wheelzine

Transportation 3500 BCE. Source: Wheelzine

They used any amount of natural materials that floated, from eucalyptus barks, leather waffles, distinct organic fibers, skins with moss roots, natural gums and resins, solid hollowed logs; until maritime engineers began designing boats using perfectly cut logs joined together. The cultures of the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans had sail vessels operated on rowers. Maritime transport was developed in the Mediterranean Sea both for reasons of trade, as for military defense and conquest. In Asia, the Orientals decided to stop their sea dogs´careers to protect their culture and society concept; but in Europe, sailors developed navigation more and more, in particular since the fourteenth century, with the discovery of the compass. In the XV century, Europeans had already discovered America utilizing the sailing ships or vessels; in addition to had found their way to India, crossing the coasts of Africa.


Venetian Galley Ship. Source:

Before the discovery of America, Genoa and Venice were the most important mercantile powers in the Mediterranean. The maritime technologies of this time were reflected in two types of ships: (1) the sailing ship for cargo transportation and (2) the galley (using sailing and rowing technology),  used to transport valuable items and for war over short distances. When the caravel emerged, ultimately it was this technology model, the ship designed to open the new sea routes to discover America.

Until the XVI and XVII centuries, the only ones who could trade overseas were wealthy merchants. Each trip represented a commercial adventure to explore and bring new knowledge and products back. As time passed by,  the ownership of the ships was democratized, and also the risks associated with each experience were shared within more shareholders and partners as resources allowed. With the first industrial revolution, and the steam technologies; maritime transport services developed in two directions: line ships that made regular trips to transport goods and passengers by fixed fare; and ships without a fixed itinerary that sailed to any port in the world if lucrative cargo could be obtained. During the XIX century, wooden ships were gradually replaced by steel vapors. The maritime engine’s efficiency using steam technology had to wait until the turbine was invented in 1884, and it was not until the introduction of the Diesel combustion engine that the boilers and stoves of the steam engine could be eliminated. After the Second World War, the airplanes greatly affected the volume of passenger traffic on transatlantic routes, and finally, maritime transport was left for freight transport to shipping goods of high value in proportion and weight. The shipping transit in lakes and rivers also managed to be kept over these centuries, however, their use has almost disappeared.

3. Transportation by Air.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Zeppelin first airship flight in Germany was the celebration of the time. Meanwhile, in the USA, aviation history started with inventors like the Wright brothers. In the US, the First World War created a great demand for airplanes, which stimulated the aircraft industry. The USA government and private sector concentrated its resources on the improvement of these air technologies. Airmail began in 1918 between NY and Washington. During the period of the Second World War, possibilities for the transport of heavy cargo via air unfolded. The helicopter also emerged in these years, for marine and land rescue tasks.

History of aviation Eurographics Aviation Poster

Eurographics Aviation Poster. Available at

During the past 75 years, the aviation industry has been improving and developing different models, which mainly pertain to the efficient use of fuel and to use technologies to reduce the high cost of safety measures. The high speeds achieved with the Concorde were only the first manifestation that the use of airplanes between Europe and New York was easier than taking a bus or a train in between European cities.

The aviation industry is tied to fuel and safety. It has been segmented according to the type of customers and uses (cargo, military, passengers, luxury, etc. It has developed reliable, profitable business models and disasters; and has also corrected and learned from its mistakes.

4. Transportation to space.

To be continued…

See you again next week. We will try to do a strategic cognitive map of the motion industries. Why is it so important to stop now, and find out if NAIQI technologies are taking us into the right development path? Let´s try to figure it out.





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