Flying Cars: Next Stop Might Be The Shelf In Your Garage
Flying cars have been a fantasy for humanity since the invention of the automobile. From Steven Kolter's Tomorrowland to the epic TV show The Jetsons, the idea of an average citizen taking to the sky is as enthralling as it is seemingly impossible. It isn't hard to see why those who grew up obsessed with sci-fi books, futuristic movies, and television shows where imagined worlds became a reality looked to the sky, hoping for evolution in the automotive industry.
As time waned on and with the modernization of airplanes, the idea of a flying car seemed less attractive. Fast forward to today, where a pandemic has deterred travelers from flying in a plane, let alone thinking about flying in a car, and airline travelers are disinterested in the idea of taking a car out for a flight, let alone a spin on the ground around the block. The Transportation Security Administration's most recent data revealed that only 1.5 million people are currently flying this year, compared to the 925.5 million that booked and completed airline travel in 2019.
Despite the pandemic and creative advances in both the aerospace and automobile industries, there are a few more reasons why the dream of flying cars is a dead end disaster for our dreams in 2022. In order to understand the interest in aerospace, a journey to the beginning of the obsession must first take place.
A Flawed History
The history of the flying car is one creative disaster after another. The first flying car in history, designed by Aeronautics expertGlenn Curtiss in 1917, was a vehicle with wings and a pusher propeller. It never achieved actual flight, but it could hop like a frog quite impressively.
Historically from 1917 on, prototype after prototype tried and failed to take flight, but with advances in software technology and lightweight building material, engineers from the 1970's on made considerable strides in achieving the possibility of an airborne vehicle.
Japan recently approved a safety certificate for flying car technology for Tokyo eVTOL (electric vehicle take-off and landing) SkyDrive. Their model named SD-03 is the current leader in sleek design, but engineers still wrestle with fuel capability as the SkyDrive can only currently withstand approximately 10 minutes of air time.
Source: India Times
Practicality and Infrastructure
The high price tag perfect sense why a new technological masterpiece would cost more than your average Honda Civic. If a driver can afford a new prototype, consider what you need to be certified and licensed to drive it.
To even fly any aircraft, the driver must first graduate from flight school, which requires 1,500 flight hours, meeting the Airline Transport Pilot certificate requirements for experience. On top of that, most programs require two years of academic study before certification.
In 1886 Carl Benz applied for a patent for his three-wheeled, gas-powered vehicle. Since then, engineers paved and moved, improved, and designed roads, highways, freeways, and homes to accommodate the size and shape of cars on the road today. Cities do not have the current design for small aircraft vehicles weaving through streets and buildings.
Flying vehicles require an entirely new set of traffic laws, licenses, and accommodations that do not exist. Traffic laws and restrictions would need to be created from scratch (and agreed upon) before any vehicle could fly into the skies. Additionally, law enforcement would need funding and job creation to enforce flying drivers.
It sounds exhausting already!
Experts in the field disagree.
Seasoned pilots and automobile enthusiasts do not unanimously agree on the concept. Even Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO and one of the world's leading experts on the transportation industry, thinks innovation should be geared away from flying vehicles and focus more on renewable energy.
To wrap it up...
Given the safety concerns, impracticality, and lack of investment, flying cars are probably not the great idea once thought of as groundbreaking and life-changing. Instead, perhaps the focus should be on feasible technology that does exist, like electric cars, self-driving cars, and green tech, to make a brighter future for us all.
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