Great ideas and progress rarely come from well-worn paths. How long have we waited for Flying Cars? Many have tried turning cars into sort of planes, or jet hovering machines.
Now it’s possible. Not by making cars fly, but making drones bigger to carry people.
Drones are main-stream and mature. The industry grappled with air-space and privacy rules and created auto-pilot, stability systems, and backup redundancy. Engineers have been reinvigorated to develop new algorithms and mechanical structures.
All of this is great for personal transport through the skies. With Flying Cars, we were expected to have a recreational pilot license, and although those engineers would have dreamed of auto-pilot, that was unobtainable. Drones have been a key stepping stone, and newfound success of electric vehicles also pave a new path.
I suspect there are 10-20 years to go. The most critical element remaining is battery capacity. There are workarounds and hybrids, but when batteries get a science boost you’ll see a race to market from many key companies.
So stop hoping for Flying Cars, and start saving for your Personal Drone Transport. (And hopefully they find a good name for it)
- 2017-02-07: This looks good [https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/02/uber-hires-nasa-engineer-to-work-on-its-flying-car-vision/] – so much redundancy