The Elevators of the Future Have (Almost) Arrived!
Willy Wonka sure was on to something with his free-flying glass elevator.
We’re still far, far off from the flying box of Roald Dahl’s imagination, but German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is developing MULTI, a new, cable-free elevator that will move up, down, and side to side. Since they lost the cables, it will be possible to have multiple cars operating in the same shaft at the same time, and there will be no height restrictions. (Building height restrictions, that is.) The taller a building is, the lengthier the cables need to be, and more cable = more weight. Cables can’t support an unlimited amount of weight, so at some point it can’t go any higher. Without the cables, however, the cars can operate to potentially limitless heights.
You may be asking yourself, if these elevators aren’t operated with cables, then what is making them move? The propulsion system used here is the same technology used by high-speed trains, magnetic levitation. Yep, that’s right, magnets!
This new levitation system offers many benefits. Aside from being able to go much higher, MULTI will drastically reduce wait times for passengers by allowing more cars to be moving at once. The horizontal movement capabilities will also make travel within large buildings much faster and easier.
Another bonus will be smaller shafts – approximately half the size of cable-operated shafts. This will free up space for more units, which is a plus for building owners.
In a world putting forth so much effort into eliminating travel by foot, this is huge. With shorter wait times and faster arrival at their destinations, passengers will be saving tremendous amounts of time every single day. This will surely come in handy for those living in urban areas – a growing percentage of our population.
ThyssenKrupp is currently constructing its first life-size model of the MULTI system in Rottweil, Germany, which will be fully operational and open to the public as soon as 2016.