The flying car- it has been a science fiction fantasy for as long as there has been science fiction. It is a notion so persuasive that it has driven countless designers to try to fix the inherent problems with the concept, and for many to fail spectacularly.
Rooted in the unspectacular desire to rid our everyday lives of visitors and meandering, indirect streets, the flying automobile nonetheless conjures up pictures of a brighter tomorrow and safer cities and cities across the world.
Today, an increasing number of aerospace businesses, both large and small, are exploring the possibility of their flying vehicle – aircraft capable of transporting single people or small freight through the atmosphere autonomously, acting as a type of air-based taxi.
Indeed, whilst the likes of Airbus have been covertly developing a PSF via their A3 venture capital division, upstart Chinese firms like eHang have established their own PSF drones, such as the eHang 184, which closely mimicking the consumer drones you will find hovering over public parks throughout the world.
The latter is capable of carrying one passenger around 100kg and their light freight for up to thirty minutes at a time, using a fully vertical take-off and a cruising speed of 40mph. The passenger chooses between lots of pre-determined destinations on a touchscreen positioned within the cockpit and, well, they go.
It’s not only a concept either. In Dubai, city officials have declared the 184 will start ferrying passengers throughout 2017, and the automobile also gained consent for test flights in Nevada, where it may appear to help wealthy guests get from airport to casino, or from nightlife place to nightlife spot.
All of which has introduced many to ask the question, are private flying vehicles the future of transportation? Well, there is some challenges to overcome first. Although the ability to journey alone is valued, a lot more traveling in pairs or as groups. Improving motor passenger and technology capacity would go some way to raising the chance of widespread public adoption.
Another issue a more complex one – atmosphere regulation. Right now, there are stringent laws that prohibit such vehicles in most cities and countries.
With all that said though, it feels like we are closer than ever to the fantasy of the flying car – and is not that exciting?
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