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Where are the Flying Cars?

Where are the Flying Cars?

If you’ve ever watched a futuristic movie from 1950 onwards, the concept of advanced technology is nothing new. Automated homes, robot servants, and spreading mankind out amongst the stars are just a few of the things that have been occupying the minds of dreamers for decades. And while we continue to wait for that pivotal moment when the future finally arrives,  there is one question that remains on our minds: Where are the flying cars. 

...we try to avoid the unhappy truth that our own movements require regulation.

One of the most fundamental components of an advanced society is the ability to make transportation meet the needs of the people. And as populations gravitate towards major cities causing infrastructural expansion, the need to traverse greater distances is a part of everyday life.

 

Whether for business or pleasure, a person might wake up in New York, fly to Los Angeles in the afternoon, and then continue on to Honolulu from there. But to cross larger distances, planes are the most widely used method of transport. Such a practice today is so normalized that we think nothing of it. While most of us willingly yet begrudgingly dismiss booking a ticket and allowing a third-party to get us where we need to go as part of the travel process, we try to avoid the unhappy truth that our own movements require regulation.

 

Logistical management should never be overlooked when considering the idea of flying cars or any other technological step forward. With every advancement comes a new degree of independence, and it has to be determined who will control that freedom. In the old days, the class system did this by designating specific seat numbers for the upper, middle, and lower classes as determined by boarding passes. In this way, it kept the freedom of movement restricted to levels that easily fell within manageable limits.

 

Such a system was in place for sea voyages, rail transport, and flight. Technology improved, but the practice of logistical management remained the same. Larger and more sophisticated aircrafts allowed for greater numbers to travel at once, but they were designed to function in a way we would accept as normal without ever returning the control of movement back to the individual.

 

For most of us, the idea of a flying car is extraordinary. Not only would it be a thrill to operate, it would also give the driver the option of going anywhere at a moment’s notice. Managerial oversight over public movements suddenly becomes a thing of the past when there’s no longer the need to purchase tickets, follow specific routes, or arrive at certain destinations. It gives personal freedom back to the individual and permits free movement without interference.

 

We hear the latest news whenever a new airplane is unveiled or an updated bullet train design begins production, but flying cars have had a way of staying under the radar. This could be due to larger travel industustries making an effort to keep company profits high by promoting traditional forms of travel. But without any open-source information on the subject, there really isn’t any way to know for certain. We may be forced to use group travel for quite some time longer. But to keep in mind that our personal freedom of movement might one day be ours, here are a few flying cars that have already been developed.

 

 

Pop.Up by Airbus Group

Airbus Group mixed together an ultra light-weight car frame and made it attach to current drone technology. The result is a $119,000 device that we can only hope will one day be operational via bluetooth technology and our smartphones.

 

 

Jet by Lilium

With a range of 186 miles and a one hour flight limit, this flying car is suitable for short distances at best.

 

 

4.0 by AeroMobile

Unlike the Lilium Jet, the 4.0 can travel a range of 466 miles making it far more ideal for long distance commuters. The downside is a price tag of $1.3-1.6 million.

 

 

Liberty by PAL-V

With a max range of 248 miles and an average speed of 100 mph, it might be worth investing $400,000 in this more economic model. With the extra million saved, you could start paying down the interest on those pesky student loans.

 

 

TF-X by Terrafugia

With a range of 500 miles and a cruising speed of 200 mph, this is the most practical. Selling for $279,000, it’s a little less than buying three Tesla cars.

 

There’s a common variable to all of these flying cars - they aren’t cheap. And while there are even more designs on the market, they too are sold at a high price. Except for a small number who would prefer to continue using cars on roads and planes in the air because that’s the way it was in the old days, most of the world would be more than happy to make life that much simpler by using one vehicle to do it all. They wouldn’t be worried about scheduling travel around peak travel dates, and the rush hour drive home from work would be non-existent.  But in order for the average person to have access to the latest technology of the day, the world will have to decide whether or not to grant full control over a person’s life back to the individual.

 

It seems simple enough. But if simplicity was the case, the world would be taking steps to break down existing walls instead of building new ones. There are limits everywhere. And while we may consider the realities of the day to be our ceiling, it is certainly not uniform.

 

 

Consider VSS Unity by Virgin Galactic. As the first commercial spacecraft, it is scheduled for another flight by the end of this year and have full commercial operation taking passengers away from Earth by next year. Booking a seat runs at $250,000 making it another expensive yet highly sought after technological innovation.

 

While some countries pride themselves on not having class systems, economic differences remain stronger than ever. Instead of the limitations associated with being born into a lower social class, lack of income determines each individual’s level of movement and the technologies that will be permitted for him or her to utilize.

 

Ultimately, the concepts of flying cars, robots, and visiting other planets is no longer reserved for avid Star Trek and George Lucas fans. And for some, the advancement in technology has created new realities. But it’s only after unrestricted contribution to and benefit from global advancements are achieved that the future will be better than the movies.

 

 

Have another look at the future. Read sample chapters from The Leg Debate. Start Reading 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Where are the Flying Cars?

  1. While I agree with you that the purchase and ownership of personal air travel devices is heavily rooted in an uneven socioeconomic class based system, my concern is more about safety.
    The simple truth is that drivers are fallible 100% of the time due to a myriad of reasons: tiredness, inattention, selfishness. I see people making mistakes on the road during my many hours of work on an almost minute by minute basis.
    The autonomous car is an interesting solution to this problem. And our commute system is heading that way already.
    It would be interesting to see if flying cars developed at a quicker pace once the technology and infrastructure of autonomous cars was in place.
    Would you trust most people on the road to FLY above you?
    Don’t even get me started on the insurance nightmare that it would create.

    1. Having a 16 year old speeding by overhead while his friends fidget over the radio is a terrifying thought, but does that mean he shouldn’t be permitted to fly for the sake of public safety? Even pilots with hundreds of hours logged in the air are still prone to the occasional error. It’s unrealistic to believe that even the best pilot is infallible all of the time.
      You’re absolutely right that automation might be the answer to this dilemma. This would eliminate the ‘human error’ while still allowing the operator to be in control of his own movements. But I still wonder what implications independent control of individual movements will have on society and daily life.

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