Around the world. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

In 1873, Jules Verne sent his hero Phileas Fogg around the world in 80 days and took the reader with him on an unforgettable adventure. Since then, the art of traveling has changed completely. How fast could Phileas Fogg make the journey today? We follow in his tracks and find out how small our world has become in 2017.

Quelle: Shutterstock/Skintone Studio/Adrian Skuro iStock/hdgali

Mechanical engineering drives mobility

The fantastical novel by Jules Verne is based on true events – the circumnavigation of the earth by George Francis Train in 1870. His journey was only made possible by the opening of the Suez Canal and the construction of the railway line across the USA. This inspired Jules Verne to tell a story that still captivates millions of readers.

What is so fascinating about Phileas Fogg?

Mobility gives us independence and self-determination – and it is a sign of freedom and prosperity. It challenges us and drives our inventiveness to create outstanding achievements. This is clearly reflected in the huge progress in transportation.

Mechanical engineering develops and creates the foundations of our mobility – from motors, engines and cars to elevators, conveyor belts, escalators, bridges, roads and tunnels, aircrafts and space rockets. Without mechanical engineering, our society would never have reached today’s stage of development.

“The world is smaller, because we can now travel around it ten times faster than a hundred years ago.”

Jules Verne1873

Traveling with Phileas Fogg

First stage

London – Paris – Brindisi

2,347.5 km in 2 days and 19 h

London – Paris – Brindisi Train

First Stage

London – Paris – Brindisi

2,347.5 km in 20 h and 40 min

London – Paris Fast train / in 2 h and 16 min
Paris – Brindisi Fast train / in 18 h and 24 min

Second stage

Brindisi – Mumbai

7,399.6 km in 14 days and 15 h

Brindisi – Suez Steamship / in 3 days and 18 h
Suez – Aden Steamship / in 4 days and 23 h
Aden – Bombay Steamship / in 5 days and 22 h

Second stage

Brindisi – Mumbai

7,399.6 km in 2 days and 10 h

Brindisi – Suez Train / in 12 h and 45 min
Suez – Aden Car / in 38 h and 54 min
Aden – Mumbai Airplane / in 7 h and 15 min

Third stage

Mumbai – Calcutta – Hong Kong – Shanghai – Yokohama

12,556.9 km in 24 days and 19 h

Mumbai – Kalkutta Train / in 4 days and 9 h
Kalkutta – Hongkong Elephant / in 11 days and 18 h
Hongkong – Shanghai Ship / in 4 days and 4 h
Shanghai – Yokohama Ship / in 2 days and 12 h

Third stage

Mumbai – Calcutta – Hongkong – Shanghai – Yokohama

12,556.9 km 4 days and 49 min

Mumbai – Calcutta Train / in 1 day and 7 h
Calcutta – Hongkong Airplane and ferry / in 8 h and 6 min
Hongkong – Shanghai Bus and airplane / in 6 h and 43 min
Shanghai – Yokohama Car ferry und car / in 2 days and 3 h

Fourth stage

Yokohama – San Francisco – New York – Dublin – Liverpool – London

20,410.1 km in 36 days

Yokohama – San Francisco Ship / in 18 days and 12 h.
San Francisco – New York Train and iceboat / in 8 days and 5 h
New York – Dublin Ship / in 9 days
Dublin – Liverpool Ship / in 10 h
Liverpool – London Train / in 9 h

Fourth stage

Yokohama – San Francisco – New York – Dublin – Liverpool – London

20,410.1 km in 1 day and 11 h

Yokohama – San Francisco Airplane / in 13 h and 5 min
San Francisco – New York Airplane and train / in 7 h and 28 min
New York – Dublin Airplane / in 9 h and 15 min
Dublin – Liverpool Airplane / in 3 h
Liverpool – London Train / in 2 h and 12 min

Fourth stage

Yokohama – San Francisco – New York – Dublin – Liverpool – London

20,410.1 km
in 1 day and 11 h

Yokohama – San Francisco Airplane / in 13 h and 5 min
San Francisco – New York Airplane and train / in 7 h and 28 min
New York – Dublin Airplane / in 9 h and 15 min
Dublin – Liverpool Airplane / in 3 h
Liverpool – London Train / in 2 h and 12 min

First Stage

London – Paris – Brindisi

2,347.5 km
in 20 h and 40 min

London – Paris Fast train / in 2 h and 16 min
Paris – Brindisi Fast train / in 18 h and 24 min

Second stage

Brindisi – Mumbai

7,399.6 km
in 2 days and 10 h

Brindisi – Suez Train / in 12 h and 45 min
Suez – Aden Car / in 38 h and 54 min
Aden – Mumbai Airplane / in 7 h and 15 min

Third stage

Mumbai – Calcutta – Hongkong – Shanghai – Yokohama

12,556.9 km
in 4 days and 49 min

Mumbai – Calcutta Train / in 1 day and 7 h
Calcutta – Hongkong Airplane and ferry / in 8 h and 6 min
Hongkong – Shanghai Bus and airplane / in 6 h and 43 min
Shanghai – Yokohama Car ferry und car / in 2 days and 3 h

Fourth stage

Yokohama – San Francisco – New York – Dublin – Liverpool – London

20,410.1 km
in 36 days

Yokohama – San Francisco Ship / in 18 days and 12 h.
San Francisco – New York Train and iceboat / in 8 days and 5 h
New York – Dublin Ship / in 9 days
Dublin – Liverpool Ship / in 10 h
Liverpool – London Train / in 9 h

First stage

London – Paris – Brindisi

2,347.5 km
in 2 days and 19 h

London – Paris – Brindisi Train

Second stage

Brindisi – Mumbai

7,399.6 km
in 14 days and 15 h

Brindisi – Suez Steamship / in 3 days and 18 h
Suez – Aden Steamship / in 4 days and 23 h
Aden – Mumbai Steamship / in 5 days and 22 h

Third stage

Mumbai – Calcutta – Hong Kong – Shanghai – Yokohama

12,556.9 km
in 24 days and 19 h

Mumbai – Kalkutta Train / in 4 days and 9 h
Kalkutta – Hongkong Elephant / in 11 days and 18 h
Hongkong – Shanghai Ship / in 4 days and 4 h
Shanghai – Yokohama Ship / in 2 days and 12 h

The adventure begins

London hotspot

Phileas Fogg starts his journey on a horse-drawn carriage ride to Charing Cross Station. Back then, the hackney carriage was a common means of transport. However, the journey was rarely comfortable. The road conditions were bad and the carriages had barely any suspension, if at all. Traveling at a speed of around 10 km/h required plenty of time and patience.

Source: akg-images
Source: Shutterstock/Brian Minkoff

144 years later, London is one of the biggest international hubs in the world. A metropolis that has to enable and provide mobility for 8 million inhabitants and approximately 7 million commuters and visitors. London is not only at the center of the British railway network, but it is also the meeting point for the most important highways – and six airports provide connections across the world. In addition, London has the oldest subway system in the world.

Mobile. More mobile. Congestion.

However, the ever-increasing mobility requirements pose a growing problem for modern cities. Not only is the environmental impact increasing, but the crowds of people are also increasingly obstructing each other. This causes the traffic to slow down until it almost comes to a halt and creates real economic damage.

speed inside cities remains at 10 to 15 km/h – the same as at the time of horse-drawn carriages. Traffic jams, finding a parking space, traffic regulations and standstills are slowing down traffic to the effective speed of one single horse.

The development of future concepts that network cities in a sustainable manner, enable car-to-car communication and provide intelligent transport systems is thus all the more urgent. Even now, a change in people’s usage habits is evident – means of transport are selected more spontaneously and according to the traffic situation.

Big city pollution

In Phileas Fogg’s day, you may have had your sleep disturbed by the sound of the rattling of the carriage wheels. You may also have been disgusted by the smell of horse droppings. However, the emissions of a modern city today are much greater. Vehicle emissions, particulate matter, noise and light pollution are increasingly the cause of serious health problems. This is why the mechanical engineering sector is working hard on solutions which reduce or eliminate harmful emissions. Electromobility here is key.

… particulate pollution caused by construction machinery nationwide is less than 1 percent?
Our society relies on construction machinery as the central means of building houses or cities and preparing the way for all kinds of mobility. In the past, construction machinery was regarded as “polluting” due to the high emissions. Now, mechanical engineering has opened up new possibilities. Today’s construction machinery is clean, powerful, energy-efficient, low-noise and high-tech.
Energy efficiency has increased by 10 to 15 percent and nitrogen oxide and diesel soot particle emissions have been reduced by more than 95 percent. If all construction machinery used on construction sites corresponded to the latest technical standards, the “green construction site” would be almost achieved.

Gasoline from the plug socket

Silent cars that emit no exhaust gases – what sounded like science fiction just a few years ago can already be found on our streets. Electromobility is still in the early stages, but there is no stopping its advance.

Battery engineering “made in Germany”

Powerful batteries are not only needed in electric vehicles, but for a lot of other products and applications too. Simply put, electrical energy storage is an integral part of our everyday life. From e-mobility and consumer electronics to stationary energy storage and large batteries for industry – the worldwide demand is growing steadily. The need for lithium-ion batteries will also significantly rise.

Batteries – luxury items?

At the moment, powerful batteries, especially in e-mobility, are still a significant cost factor. This is an obstacle to a favorable price-performance ratio. Only the combination of high-quality materials, effective production equipment and consistently efficient processes will enable technical feasibility and make the electric car suitable for mass use. Mechanical engineering plays a key role here.

Cross-sector research

For this reason, the VDMA has founded a cross-sector industrial group in which mechanical and plant engineering companies from all areas of the battery process chain are represented. Synergy effects can thus be maximized with the specific expertise of its members. The focus is currently on lithium-ion technology.

Lithium-ion batteries – how do they actually work?

How can a battery store and then subsequently release electricity – and what makes it particularly efficient?

The mobility of tomorrow

Green, fast and relaxed: This is how future traffic can look when the means of transport communicate with each other and are sustainably operated. Electrically powered vehicles will play a key role; meaning vehicles will need to possess efficient and high-performance battery technology.

Battery engineering “made in Germany”

Weiterlesen
Source: Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG

By train through Europe

London – Paris – Brindisi

Railway engineering and rail transport were still in their early stages in Jules Verne’s time. In 1825, the world’s first railway line – 35 kilometers in length – was opened in England. With this, the first tunnels also became necessary – including, for example, the Mont Cenis Tunnel. This was the tunnel Phileas Fogg used to reach Brindisi at over 2,000 kilometers away within 19 hours and at an average travel speed of around 120 km/h.

In 1825, the Thames in London was the first river to be successfully tunneled under. The construction work lasted 18 years – today this is still considered a pioneering achievement. In 2015, London once again wrote tunnel construction history: Within a period of three years, 42 kilometers of underground routes going from east to west through the center of the metropolis were dug out. The new “Crossrail” creates a railway connection from Heathrow to Abbey Wood and is intended to relieve traffic congestion in London significantly. Its commissioning is scheduled for 2018.

Source: Shutterstock/Arcansel
Source: Shutterstock/hxdyl

Resistance is futile

Tunnels are extremely important for modern mobility because they allow people to cross geographical borders. They go through mountains and pass by rivers or other artificial boundaries.

Machinery for tunnel construction enables work that was previously unimaginable and is still impressive today. Tunnels can now be built exactly where they are needed – regardless of the geological and topographical conditions. The machinery, however, has to be precisely designed for the specific tunnel construction so that it can work under the given circumstances. Geology, the influence of the groundwater, the tunnel size and the route itself (depth, curves, inclines and length) as well as the situation on the construction site are all taken into account.

The largest modernization and extension requirements for underground infrastructure exist in urban areas and large cities around the world, rather than for long-distance connections. Underground work in heavily populated areas is only possible through modern tunnel construction, since this is done underground and keeps invasive activity to a minimum. Thus, the traffic situation in the surrounding metropolises is not adversely affected.

Eurasia Tunnel
Route from Asia to Europe

The 5.4-kilometer-long Eurasia Tunnel in Istanbul connects the East to the West. Its construction lasted 5 years. 3.34 km of the tunnel was created using tunneling machinery from Germany. Source: Herrenknecht AG

The geological and hydrogeological data of the subsoil along the planned route provides the basis for the planning and execution of tunnel construction projects. An analysis of the ground conditions is carried out using geotechnical plans and maps. Various exploration methods, for example, holes and sound tests from the surface, provide the information necessary to evaluate the ground and select and construct the appropriate tunneling machinery. Should unusual challenges arise, special solutions can be developed as necessary.

Through the desert sand

In Doha, the capital of Qatar, there is a state-of-the-art subway network comprising four lines, 100 subway stations and totaling a length of around 216 kilometers.

How does a tunnel boring machine work?

Nowadays, you can build tunnels under historic city centers and densely populated residential areas without affecting the life aboveground. The exciting animation film of the tunnel construction in Barcelona shows how this is possible.

Tunnel vision into the future

Human mobility is growing, and the ever-increasing international connections require new and faster travel routes. Tunnels are therefore key for the mobility of today and tomorrow. They not only connect continents, but they also often connect the past with the future.

Today, we can travel on the “bullet train” at 600 km/h across China or travel by speed trains through Europe. Breathtaking tunnels are melting mountains and shrinking oceans. The best examples of these are the Gotthard Tunnel, the Channel Tunnel and the Eurasia Tunnel, which connects the East and West in Istanbul.

Resistance is futile

READ MORE

On waterways to India

Brindisi – Suez – Mumbai (Bombay)

“Mongolia” was the steamship with which Phileas Fogg traveled to Mumbai (Bombay). Thanks to the journey through the then newly built Suez Canal, he saved 37 days travel time. With 2,800 gross registered tons and 500 hp, the “Mongolia” was one of the fastest steamships and was capable of 10 knots, which corresponds to about 19 km/h.

In order to steer such a ship safely across international waters, the most important thing was: coal. At all the strategically important points along the route, fuel had to be left at the depots to ensure that the ship could continue to operate. An expensive and logistically challenging task, which continues to be a problem for shipping companies today.

 

The cultural meets the commercial: A huge container ship docks next to the Elbe Philharmonic Hall. Source: H. Schlegel, VDMA

Since then, both the waterways and shipping have developed rapidly. Instead of steamships, there are now state-of-the-art container ships, which are among the most efficient means of transport. Today, speed is not the main challenge, but the reduction of emissions and a lower fuel consumption at the same or higher performance.

Container ships are highly complex technological structures. More than 30 systems and parts of equipment must be combined in order to be able to operate a ship reliably and efficiently. These include, among others, intelligent drives, automation systems, as well as filling, navigation and safety systems – which must run smoothly, without errors and around the clock.

Giants of the seas

The larger the ship, the lower the costs. Because of this calculation model, freight and cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger. But there is a price to be paid for this saving, because the sea giants can only dock in a few deep sea ports – and even the Suez Canal had to be widened to accommodate them.

73

meters

is the length of the world’s longest commercial aircraft.

2,300

tons

is the weight of the diesel engine on board the “Emma Maersk” container ship.

345

meters

The Queen Mary 2 can hold 2,620 passengers and mainly crosses the North Atlantic.

118,586

hp

is the output of the most powerful diesel engine in the world.

395

meters

The largest container ship in the world is called MSC Oscar and can transport 19,224 standard containers and a crew of 35.

0.6

liters

is the cubic capacity of the smallest diesel engine in the world, at only 43.5 cm high, 40 cm wide and 36 cm deep.

Across India

Mumbai (Bombay) – Kolkata (Kalkutta)

Once in Mumbai (Bombay), Mr. Fogg continues his voyage by land. Traditionally, this was mainly done in India on foot – or on the back of a horse or elephant, or in a carriage or sedan. With the introduction of the railway however, it was possible to travel from Mumbai (Bombay) to Kolkata (Calcutta) in three days – a speed that was previously unimaginable.

In spite of the technical progress, people in India today feel that they move at the same pace as Phileas Fogg, because the country still suffers from extremely poor infrastructure. 90 percent of the roads are not suitable for heavy transport, although roughly 65 percent of goods are transported by truck. An estimated 2 percent of the annual economic growth is thus literally left undelivered.

Cows, camels and Kawasaki

On the streets of India, you will find almost everything that has four legs or wheels. In order to meet the challenges of the future – by 2030, some 68 cities will have more than a million inhabitants each – the country plans to invest 1,000 billion US dollars into the development of its infrastructure.

Across the world’s oceans

Kolkata (Kalkutta) – Hongkong – Schanghai – Yokohama – San Francisco

Phileas Fogg relies on a steamship to get himself from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Hong Kong. But the “Rangoon” turns out to be a floating wreck which could capsize at any point. For the journey to Yokohama, he eventually wrangles his way onto a small schooner that takes him along the coast to the land of the samurai. From there, he journeys to America with a paddle steamer.

The risk of sinking is hardly a danger in today’s professional shipping industry. Similar to air transport, fleets are monitored, directed and managed by the most modern ship management centers around the clock. Thanks to digitalization, regular shipping and weather information can be analyzed to enhance the routes. Fuel and energy consumption are also controlled from here, as is risk and crisis management. Because sustainability is also becoming a topic of increasing importance within the shipping industry, the entire waste water and waste management is managed centrally and digitally.

Home via the Wild West

San Francisco – Chicago – New York – Dublin – Liverpool – London

In the new world too, the invention of the railway increased travel speed considerably. While it had previously taken around half a year to travel from San Francisco to New York, and you had to fight your way through the Wild West with Indians and predators, Phileas Fogg was able to make the journey by train in seven days. From New York, there was one final ocean between Phileas Fogg and home. “Henrietta”, the light vessel, brought Phileas Fogg back to Europe within eight days.

Crossing the USA was a great adventure for Phileas Fogg – today it is an everyday occurrence. As a general rule, travelers no longer use train but air travel to do this journey – the same is true for crossing oceans.

How aviation took off

Man’s greatest dream has always been to fly.
Mechanical engineering helped make this possible.

Why do airplanes fly?

Whether on the way to our holiday destination or as part of a business trip, we take airplanes as much for granted as we do the subway. But how can an extremely heavy object fly at all?

A future without kerosene?

Aviation has developed rapidly, especially considering the fact that between the first lift off the ground and the first landing on the moon there are not even 200 years. Speed records are no longer being broken. Today it is about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Electric and solar-powered drives will have to be much further developed in order to produce the power required. However, the use of new, lightweight and durable materials can also reduce consumption and harmful emissions.

Around the world in less than 36 hours

In 1995, a Concorde circumnavigated the world in 31 hours, 27 minutes and 49 seconds – around 60 times faster than Phileas Fogg was 122 years ago on his fictional journey! This record has not been broken since.

The future of mobility

One thing is certain: In the future, we will be multimobile – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The major challenge will be to coordinate the flow of people in such a way that no congestion occurs and the environment is not put in danger, rather the burden on the environment is relieved. At the same time, people have to get used to sharing means of transport and no longer owning them individually.

 

“It is not the maximum speed that determines the mobility of tomorrow’s society, but the nature of the movement and how we actually best get to the destination.”

Megatrend Dokumentation 2012Zukunftsinstitut, http://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/artikel/aufbruch-in-ein-neues- zeitalter-der-mobilitaet/

Future mobility

Overcrowded megacities, gentrification and an ever-growing world population – in the world of tomorrow, we will only be able to move efficiently through the extremely flexible use of various and completely new means of transport.

Authors

Anja Schnieder

Construction Equipment and Building Material Machinery Communications Manager

Since 2002, she has been responsible for the press and public relations activities on trends within the industry, market developments, innovations and leading trade fairs in the construction equipment and building material machinery industry in Germany and Europe.

Phone: (+49 69) 6603-1257
anja.schnieder@vdma.org

Peter Exner

Power Transmission Research Association (FVA) Manager

Peter Exner has been working as a manager at FVA since 2001. He is responsible for THEMIS, the online knowledge database, supervises technical working groups and is the contact person for seminars and congresses.

Phone: (+49 69) 6603-1610
peter.exner@vdma.org

Pamela Schäfer

Power Transmission Engineering Assistant to the Board

Pamela Schäfer began in 2008 at the Power Transmission Engineering Research Association and moved over to VDMA in 2010. There, she is Assistant to the Board and, since 2015, has been acting as the Assistant to Deputy Executive Director of VDMA, Hartmut Rauen.

Phone: (+49 69) 6603-1332
pamela.schaefer@vdma.org

Karin Jantke

Senior Editor, Profilwerkstatt GmbH

Karin Jantke has many years of experience in journalism and is a specialist in multimedia reports. She has joint responsibility for the editorial quality assurance of the entire website and has supported the team as an additional author.