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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Flying Car

I don't know about anybody else, but I for one would love to have a car that is capable of flying.  Just imagine how much easier life would be if you could check the traffic in the morning, find the roads are super slow, and decide to fly to work instead, needing nothing more than to push a button in your car and turn it into an airplane.  Not only would it help for traffic, but it could cut down on travel time as you could fly faster than you could drive and cut out all the windy roads in between.  This is not to say windy roads are not fun, but if you want to cut down travel time and need to get somewhere in a hurry, what better way to get there than to hop in your aerocar to get there.  There are two aerocar's currently in development with serious effort being made to put them into production.  One was designed and is being built in Woburn, MA.  The other, with a little different design, is being designed overseas in the Netherlands.  The issue now with the cars is determining how they will meet both aviation and automotive standards.  The rigorous process of crash testing, test flying, etcetera etcetera, will probably take a few years in a of itself and even once it gets through all the that, the price tag may be what turns some people off.  Currently, the price for the American version is set at around $279K with the Dutch version being set at around $300K.  Either way, it is nice to dream of having both an airplane and a car, in one, parked in your driveway.   (Full Article Here)

This does bring to mind a few possible problems.  The number one I can think of is air accidents.  If for some reason, the price of the aerocar becomes reasonably affordable where most families could afford to buy one, imagine what are skies would look like?  They would probably be chock full of flying cars, zipping here, there and everywhere, vaguely reminiscent of a Jetson's show minus the futuristic housing.  In my mind, there would need to be some sort of air traffic law set up and enforced, possibly with flying police, to ensure the safety of all flying cars and also the people on the ground who would also potentially suffer if an air crash were to happen above them.  It seems there would need to be designated routes of travel to minimize congestion and to keep complications to a minimum.  And while we are on the topic of air accidents, we can't forget to factor in the FUI, or Flying Under the Influence.  I guarantee that if people drive cars under the influence, it wouldn't be too long before someone flew their aerocar under the influence.  It would make sense to me to have a mandatory breathalyzer attached to the ignition of all aerocars so FUI's couldn't happen.  To me, its all about safety.  The ramifications of the aerocar need to be considered in full before they are ever made street and air legal.  But alas, these prototypes still need to go through all the mandatory tests before they can ever reach the consumer, so I think we are safe for now. 

Despite my slight pessimism in the latter paragraph, I do think these are a wonderful combination of two totally different vehicles, the car and the plane.  It takes a person with incredible engineering know how and tenacity to go through with a process like this.  The end result could be amazing and I for one, would love to buy an aerocar if they are ever made affordable.  For now, however, we will simply have to watch and wait, seeing where all this leads to.  You never know, this could be the answer to our congested roadways and increasing traffic.  This could usher us into a new age of transportation.  It is the innovators like the ones who created these two different aerocars that we need more of, people who are willing to push the envelope and take an idea from paper and turn it into a functional, working vehicle.  The only way we will get more innovators is to instill a sense of creativity in our youth, a yearning for knowledge, and a lack of fear when it comes to pushing the boundaries.  A new generation of innovators and inventors is what we need to kick ourselves out of this economic slump we are currently in.  But once again, I digress as I have a tendency to do sometimes.  Let us simply keep our eyes looking up and searching for the first flying car in our neighborhood (in a few years that is). 

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