Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by kcmartz, May 13, 2014.

?

Transporters, Hovercars, or Both?

  1. Transporters

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. Hovercars

    1 vote(s)
    4.2%
  3. Both

    19 vote(s)
    79.2%
  1. kcmartz

    kcmartz Cadet Newbie

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    I was wondering, what everyone thinks of the two of these. Which would you rather have, Transporters, Hovercars, or both?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Transporters only. Vehicles are extremely primitive and inconvenient as a concept if the goal is to move.

    - They have to be built, maintained and eventually disposed of
    - They have to be stored (by the user, close to the user, for convenience) when not in use
    - They have to be parked even when in use
    - They have to be taken through all the points between A and B, most of which are uninteresting, inconvenient or downright dangerous
    - They have to be operated (automated, perhaps, but with some supervision and user input as to destination)
    - They are slow - to varying degrees of slowness, but nevertheless always slow

    With transporters, none of this applies but the operating bit. Okay, somebody somewhere has to build, maintain and dispose of these things, but that's not the user, and there doesn't need to exist (be built/disposed) tons or even kilograms of hardware per each individual user.

    The only valid application of vehicles is sightseeing. But that could also be done with transporters, especially if you transport the relevant parts of a "vehicle" (a comfy chair and a weather cover, possibly some music and food and copulation furniture as well) to each vantage point.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Hovercars would be all right, but transporters would be better. Both would be good.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The thing is, the goal isn't always to move. Many times, the goal is to move, wait, deliver, wait, pickup wait some more, and then move again.

    Wait a minute... why does the user have to build, maintain and dispose of vehicles if the users of transporters don't?

    Same question: why not? If higher traffic necessitates the construction of more transporters, then you WOULD need quite a bit of physical hardware to make it workable. The most you can say is that transporters would require slightly less hardware but individual, but since we don't actually know how much material goes into a transporter (or in the background functions, e.g. transporter waveguides, powerplants, circuitry, safety equipment, etc) that's not a claim that one could support.

    Also:
    - The physical transportation of bulky cargo or objects
    - Search for/recovery of missing objects
    - Search for/recovery of missing persons
    - Convenient and flexible placement of materials in undefined locations
    - Convenient and flexible removal of materials from undefined locations.

    The above example cover things like food trucks/carts and mobile shops, freight trucks, coast guard helicopters, park rangers, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, bulldozers, tractors, harvesters, snow plows, construction equipment, tow trucks, sky cranes, warships, hospital ships, trawlers, drilling platforms, and exploration vessels.

    That's a LOT of vehicular applications that are not covered by a simple "move a single person from one place to another." If it was that simple, we would have all traded in our cars for Segway Scooters by now.

    That's still, basically, a vehicle though. Actually it's less efficient than a real vehicle because the engine that makes it move is so huge that it can't be carried with the vehicle itself and is located in some other location.

    Then again, in another hundred years the Federation will develop the technology to create objects that are bigger on the inside, so installing a whole industrial transporter system inside of a two-door Sedan would be more than doable. Fifty years later, the Federation would unveil its first TARDIS, making even transporters seem quaint by comparison.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Which is an artifact of the vehicle mode of operation. Teleportation involves no concept of "waiting": everything goes where needed when needed. It does not need to be stored anywhere in between, not aboard a transportation vehicle, not in a warehouse, not on the sidewalk.

    If you want to perform intermittent activity or enjoy intermittent presence, don't drag a stupid vehicle with you. Be there only when you need to be, and be back at your living room when you don't.

    Transporters are a "cloud" service: you can call for site-to-site without possessing hardware of your own. And they are much more capacious at that than, say, taxi services or even bus or train services, which are also "cloud" in a way. As said, the amount of hardware per user or per user-hour or user-mile is minuscule compared with vehicle-based systems. Even if a transporter capable of handling fifty beaming requests at once weighed ten times as much as a fifty-seat bus, it would be immensely more capable in delivering people from place to place - millions of times more capable at the very least, simply thanks to the extreme difference in delivery speed (and accuracy, and lack of scheduling needs, etc.).

    I have a hard time believing in bulky transporters, though, considering how military-ruggerized hardware for fairly extreme beaming applications can be easily carried aboard a runabout. Just park twenty runabouts side by side (or a single runabout dedicating all of its internal volume to twin-pad transporters like the one in the cockpit) above the Azores and you have way more trans-Atlantic capacity than all the airlines of today combined. Without the inflight peanuts, but without the need for them, either.

    Nope, nope, and nope. Transporters are much better at handling large loads than vehicles, as they don't add the bulk of the vehicle to the total load to be negotiated to a destination. Search is conducted much faster if the search instrument (a "partial vehicle" if you insist, but without a need for the motive parts) can arrive at the various observation points instantaneously; recovery is obviously infinitely faster after locating is achieved. And a vehicle ultimately needs the location defined by some means, a "terminal homing system" if you will - but teleportation can provide that means just as well, if not otherwise, then with a series of "ranging beam-ins".

    For each of these vehicles that is supposed to actually move (as opposed to, say, a hospital ship or a drilling platform, which only needs to be there), teleportation is obviously the faster and more capable option. And for those that simply need to be in place, avoidance of the "travel from A to B" thing is an inherent advantage for the teleportation option: you beam the required machinery directly to the point of application. And then apply some further teleportation to achieve the drilling effect or the delicate surgery, for that matter...

    You have a weird definition of efficient. Should telephone operators carry kilowatt- or megawatt-range powerplants and giant antennas with them so that they could be truly independent of a fixed infrastructure and thus "more efficient"? The more superfluous gear you can offload from your comfy-chair-and-minibar-under-parasol, the more efficient it really becomes, because its very physical existence is a nuisance you would be better off without.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would rather ride a hovercar than use a transporter.

    What if something goes wrong? If your hovercar crashes, you may be injured or even killed, but if a transporter malfunctions, all sorts of weird shit could happen to you - some of which would be a fate worse than death.

    At least with a car (hover or otherwise), what happened to Sonak in ST:TMP won't happen to you.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Physical impact can already cause a full range of suffering, brief or prolonged - you don't need transporter accidents for that. And teleportation minimizes the risks by minimizing exposure: in a car, you spend tens of thousands of times longer in "traffic" or the actual danger zone of motion.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My point is, when a transporter malfunctions, it can mess with the entire fabric of reality. It can result in effects that are much, much worse than a traffic accident. You saw what happened to Sonak in TMP - I'm sure he suffered just as much, if not worse, than this. If the transporter lock malfunctions, you could end up being transported into the side of a building - I bet that's not exactly pleasant. And remember Matt Franklin from "Relics" - who knows what kind of pain HE went through, and how long (from his POV) it lasted?
     
  9. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I voted both because, well, why not? If I could only pick one, I would chose transporter. Being able to travel very long distances would be wonderful - I could see and learn so much more.
     
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    We know Star Trek has both. Personally, having seen dozens of transporter malfunction Trek episodes and learned about things like Transporter Psychosis, flying cars sound like the safer bet to me. If the transporter were guaranteed safe, on the other hand...
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I don't quite see how. The limits of pain and suffering don't come from technology - they come from the human body. A transporter can embed you in a wall, but so can a high speed collision. A transporter can scramble you like an egg, but so can a high speed collision. A transporter can alter your body chemistry, but you get the same sort of effects from being burned in an accident and inhaling the fumes. Etc.

    OTOH, I would be worried about what happens when things don't go wrong. A vehicle isn't a very complex environment; it would be possible for a layman to understand the risks of normal operations. Driving around today gives you cancer from inhaling polyaromatic fumes, but that's pretty much it, and the risk is minimal compared with accident risks. Would a layman understand the risks of taking a teleport to work every morning? That is, assuming 0% failure rate, which the layman could verify from personal experience or statistics?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The transporter is absolutely unique. It messes with the fabric of reality in a way that no other device has ever done. What it could do to the human body if it malfunctions, would also be unique.

    Slamming into a wall would be a completely different thing than being transported into one. The former would be a simple high-speed impact; the latter, your very body structure would be 'integrated' with the wall, thus producing a much worse effect.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Worse how? Your circulation would be blocked and/or segmented to pieces, which is what happens in an impact, too. Your organs would be mashed, penetrated by concrete, etc. etc. but again nothing unique there, in any sense that would matter. You'd die, in great pain, but you usually do.

    Being hit by transporter is unique, sure - but so is being hit by a car that is painted to look like Donald Duck, or a car driven by Paris Hilton. The effects supposedly won't be all that different, in terms of, well, effects. Pain is pain, and ultimately death is death.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Bagliun Edar

    Bagliun Edar Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I voted both. A transporter could transport me from home to work and back; but there are times when I would want to just travel, in which case, the transporter could transport me and the hovercar together, leaving me to go around within the locale with the hovercar. I would also want to have journeys in which the roads are as important as the destination; for me at least. I love touring around.
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, it's a consequence of reality being largely inefficient for tasks that require pre-determined schedules. Like if you're helping your girlfriend move all of her furniture into storage but you can't get the loading done right away because the movers are still on the other side of town eating a pizza: you're waiting.

    If you're a police officer staking out a building that may or may not be the hideout for a fugitive: you're waiting.

    If your construction company is rebuilding the roof of a house in a job that will take at least twelve hours: the car with all your tools and equipment is waiting.

    But it does, because a lot of what humans need to do at their destination requires some means of storage, either of their stuff or of themselves. The transporter alone cannot provide that functionality unless you add an additional component -- say, a large reconfigurable boxcar or a transportable cabinet system that can be beamed from place to place as easily as the people -- in which case you still basically have a vehicle.

    Except my "intermittent activity" involves transporting two hundred pounds of presentation materials and artifacts back and forth between local school districts, along with hand carts needed to haul all that shit up and down the stairs and the elevators. Do I really need to store all of that crap in my living room and them use the transporters to hand-carry all of that material back and forth between my room and the school district where it needs to go? Because I would MUCH rather store it all in one place, a small portable "Sled" of some kind that I could beam from one place to the next, unload when I get there, load it back up when I'm done and then beam the whole kit and caboodle back to my house.

    Better still of the sled can beam itself there so I don't have to charter a transporter.

    And yet, cloud computing has not fully replaced on-site storage and is not likely to do so at any point in the forseeable future. Nor is cloud storage appropriate for all types of media (hand-written notes, for example).

    Basically, it isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. Transporters would definitely make transportation more convenient, but they wouldn't replace vehicles in anything less than a millenia. Quite the contrary, in fact, they would make certain types of vehicles ALOT more attractive, and as transporter technology becomes more streamlined and portable, it would eventually lead to the development of the TARDIS (e.g. a self-beaming box that can instantly take you and your stuff anywhere you want in about five and a half seconds).

    I don't know about "easily" since runabouts are fairly large spacecraft. I also don't know about "military-ruggerized" since they don't seem to be that much tougher than their starship counterparts (which also glitch distressingly often and in very odd ways).

    This statement doesn't seem to be based on anything at all. It's also logically contradicted by the fact that the Galaxy class starship has an enormous shuttlebay, and the fact that the runabouts you keep mentioning are, in fact, designed to carry cargo.

    Which means even Starfleet, who arguably INVENTED the transporter, doesn't think they're that much better than vehicles.

    This statement also is based on nothing, and is mathematically disprovable. Broadly speaking: if you're attempting to search an area nine kilometers wide with a sensor device with a range of 500 square meters, you would have to beam that device to 18 different locations and have it search every one of them. Assuming there are no obstacles that obscure its view from any one location (and there almost always would be) a transporter cycle of five seconds up and five seconds down would mean the search could be conducted in not less than three minutes.

    A hovercar with an identical sensor package would be able to match that by flying over the area at fifty meters per second, AND would have the advantage of being able to quickly change positions to avoid obstructions to its field of vision.

    The latter problem -- obstacles in the field -- could be mitigated by simply adding propulsive capability to your sensor device (which Starfleet already does, hence their probes still have the ability to move under their own power).

    This statement is also based on nothing, and is again explicitly contradicted by the fact that storekeepers throughout the Federation are seen using physical stocks of goods and not relying on teleportation (even in places like Deep Space Nine, where said teleportation should be available). In fact, it seems that teleportation itself is incompatible with that business model, as the only distributors who use transporters are fully automated replimats or ship's stores.

    And for any given person who relies solely on teleportation to move his goods, the person who combines a teleporter with a vehicle already has a distinct advantage. There is literally no scenario where transporter-only is superior to transporter+vehicle.

    It WOULD be if the kilowatt-range powerplants were the size of cell phone batteries (which, in the Trek universe, they are). Indeed, the Star Trek universe has shown us spacecraft the size of golf carts capable of traveling interstellar distances; a hovercar could probably circumnavigate the Earth on a power source no bigger than my laptop battery.

    Transporters are not competitive with vehicles until they can be scaled down to THAT size; even then, they are still not competitive with MOBILE transporters that can self-teleport along with their contents.

    Unless, of course, you're someone who uses you vehicle to do useful work, in which case the minibar and parasol are combined with a toolshelf, a gun rack, a bookshelf, a desk, and a bathroom. Transporters may do some things better than vehicles, but transporting your vehicle adds layers of convenience.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except with transporters, you don't always die. Sometimes you wind up getting mixed together with your best friend, or turned into children, or accidentally duplicated, or split into a good/evil version of yourself, or accidentally transplanted into an alternate dimension, or materialize inside-out. It's not the INJURIES that are potential hazards, it's the other weird shit that can happen to you in transport that simply cannot happen in a taxi cab.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sometimes it isn't the destination, it's the journey.

    Both modes of transportation would have their place, in addition I've alway assumed that civilian transporter use would be somewhat expensive.

    :)
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    You are still thinking in antiquated vehicle terms. With teleportation, you can be having that pizza, until the very moment you are needed at spot A or spot B. There's no reason to place the furniture in a mobile storage box and park that in some different spot X.

    But not in a vehicle. You don't need one if you have a teleportation machine. With such a machine, your odds of catching the fugitive go through the roof. Or then his chances of escape, if he has access to a transporter, too. The vehicle is outdated and becomes a liability in either scenario.

    No. Your tool closet back at the shop is waiting. When you need a hammer, you have it in your hand (or at least on the floor half a meter from you, if you don't trust the precision settings). When you don't, the tools return to the shop.

    Why your living room? You can put it all in your garage, which you no longer need to clog with vehicles.

    A "mobile closet" is a fairly idiotic idea, as it's unnecessary "tare hauling" where moving the Ding an sich would be the superior approach. Teleportation not only eliminates all waiting, it also eliminates most movement, as you can have things and people simply here and there without requiring more than a single base of operations (possibly the one where the transporter machinery is, but more probably at an arbitrary location with the machinery centralized elsewhere).

    Sounds really odd. Why haul ninety useless tools to a location so that you can apply the ten you actually need? Why not merely beam the ten?

    That doesn't change the nature of my answer: that vehicles are ultimately a liability we would be better off without.

    A runabout is hardly bigger than an average bus, yet serves as an efficient hub for a mass transportation system worth ten bus companies if properly applied. And I assume every Starfleet transporter system witnessed is greatly ruggerized over the civilian counterparts, as a commuting system would never have to deal with erratically moving targets, shield activity, ion storms or even distances in excess of ten thousand miles.

    Yes, yes, we know that the Star Trek society still uses vehicles. That's not relevant to my answer, where things have proceeded to their very logical conclusion and Star Trek looks antiquated. Furthermore, the ability of spacecraft to carry cargo is irrelevant for any argument about teleportation intended to compete with "ground" vehicles such as hovercars.

    ...Yet with the price of the vehicle, you can send eighteen sensors and be done in five seconds. And you don't have to wait until your vehicle arrives at the area, which will completely offset calculations like this.

    With real teleportation technology, you don't need to send sensors, of course. You can send views, teleporting them to your single sensor in your vacant garage for analysis. Until then, teleporting a "vehicle" might be worth the while, but that's not something I have to wait for before applying my answer, because I'm already there at the conclusion.

    Again, Star Trek is irrelevant to the case at hand. And the "statement based on nothing" thing is getting tiresome real fast - it's based on the way things would be, were teleportation actually available. Any logistician would swear on that.

    That's nonsense. The size of a teleporter per customer is zero in practice. (In theory, it is relative to the number of customers, but still very close to zero.)

    Futher nonsense: there's nothing to be gained from moving a device that eliminates the very concept of movement. A transporter situated at O can handle every contingency and need not be repositioned at A, B or C for any purpose.

    Vehicles are an inefficient way to do work, any work. Why have a bulldozer with a blade when you can have just the blade, in form of a teleporter? The components dedicated to movement are unnecessary and indeed detrimental to the completion of the task.

    Forget about carrying anything with you. You don't have to, because it's always with you without the completely unnecessary element of "carrying"!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Transporter for a meeting you have to attend in person. Hovercar for joyriding.
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, I'm thinking in "Star Trek transporter" terms, which is not the "magic teleporter" concept you have somehow slipped into.

    Transporters require a human operator to function, a fixed base station and hardware at a pre-determined location. For all non-emergency use, travel by transporter means going to a transporter pad, giving your destination to the transporter operator and having that transporter operator beam you to your destination. It is not even certain that civilian transporters (or civilian USE of transporters) can beam to random locations outside of their counterpart stations.

    But let's concede a little bit of magic here: your movers ARE capable of beaming directly to the work site and not to the transporter station down the street. But instead of getting to the work site on time, they're at Sarpinos finishing a deep dish pizza and they are half an hour late. There is, incidentally, no transporter pad at Sarpinos, so they still have to walk down to Wells and Lake and use the transporter station there to beam to your house.

    So you're waiting.

    If you're sitting in the teleportation machine staking out the house, then the teleportation machine is a vehicle.

    If you're sitting in the trasnporter system machine that is somewhere else other than the suspect's house, then you're not doing a stakeout, you're just backing up the person who IS.

    I'll again remind you this thread is about transporters vs. hovercars, not bicycles vs. Harry Potter. In which case, a suspect equipped with a hovercar would find it remarkably easy to evade a police force equipped only with transporters. If he escapes the initial assault, they have no means to pursue him once he gets to his car, and they cannot even force him OUT of his car once he's in it (unless you get John McClain to beam down on the roof of the hovercar and try to shoot it out with him in flight, but I digress...)

    What makes you think my shop is equipped with a transporter pad?

    You have entirely ceased to talk about anything that anyone in this thread would recognize as a "transporter" in the context of Star Trek.:vulcan:

    There's no such thing as "real teleportation technology" because such a thing is logically impossible in the first place.

    We're discussing Star Trek transporters, which -- while also impossible -- have certain built-in limitations in the context of their fictional universe. This entire discussion is pretty meaningless without taking those constraints into account; it's like saying "What would you rather have: a car or a magic genie?"

    I think you're in the wrong thread, mate.
     

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