No, you will not one day take a flying car to work.
Flying automobiles thrust back into the spotlight thanks to the unveiling of Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk Flyer have long were living in the realm of science fiction. And, let’s be real, will probably remain that lane for the foreseeable future. No matter what the latest and richest tech CEO claims, possessing a single device that roles as both a car and a plane will only serve to build you the proud owned of a bad vehicle and a worse aircraft.
Because while yes, the two types of vehicles are both designed to shipping people, they do it in fundamentally different ways( duh ). Being good at one sort of precludes you from being excelling at the other. And there’s the rub who’s going to buy a janky flying car when a perfectly safe self-driving car will do( as it soon will ).
We need only look back to the 1960 s to watch why the use of flying automobiles will never catch on. Industry has tried blending disparate forms of transportation before, and it worked out as poorly then as it would today.
Take, for example, the Amphicar Model 770. Almost 4,000 of these barge/ car hybrids were produced between 1961 and 1965, yet the relevant recommendations never caught on. Perhaps one contributing factor is that the Amphicar neither excelled as a car( topping out around 70 mph) nor as a barge( it often leaked ).
“We like to think of it as the most wonderful car on the sea and fastest barge on the road, ” John Hein , the owner of one such ogre, once put it.
Another Amphicar enthusiast, President Lyndon Johnson, used it to prank unsuspecting passengers by driving into a lake while he complained about the brakes. This is exactly the sweet place a flying car would land in today: impractical, inefficient, and merely a plaything of the rich.
In the clouds
Now, you may be shaking your chief and telling “but wait, flying automobiles already exist! ” And sure, that’s true. The Slovakian startup AeroMobil intends to sell a vehicle that doubles as both a plane and a car by 2020, but you’re never going to take one to job. How can I be so sure? Well, just like with a traditionally bred airplane, the AeroMobil needs a runway to take off.
Do you have one of those in your backyard? How about a landing strip at work? Didn’t think so.
Also, the AeroMobil is expected to cost between 1.2 million and 1.5 million ($ 1.3 million and $1.6 million ). You could buy a single-engine Cessna and any number of cars for less than that.
So if not the AeroMobil, what about something smaller like Google co-founder Larry Page’s KittyHawk? While that newly unveiled device does wing, it’s designed to only operate over sea and is more bumper-boat than car.
A prototype vehicle from Lilium Aviation arrives closer to the nightmare with its vertical take-off and landing, but it’s basically an electric airplane. Crucially, are you able see 45,000 of these flying over New York City? The NYPD would have a heart attack.
Back down to Earth
While traditional ground-based automobiles have their own safety problems, flying automobiles present an entirely new define of concerns.
If somebody doesnt maintain their flying car, it is able to plummet a hubcap and guillotine you, find Elon Musk in an interview with Bloomberg . Your anxiety level will not lessen as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.
And that doesn’t even touch on the air-traffic control nightmare that a sky full of people texting and flying would represent.
If “youre going to” wing something, your best bet is still going to be to get a pilot’s permission. If you’re just looking to cut down on your commute and had hoped flying automobiles might provide the answer, try moving closer to the agency. It’s a time-tested approach guaranteed to deliver results.
This is all to say that while the technology for personal flying automobiles may be simply around the corner, or even already there, the vehicles themselves are never going to be adopted on a meaningful scale no matter how much you want them to.