Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Discussion - The Flying Car, what insanity is this?

First off, I suggest you take a couple of minutes to watch the video linked in this post below.

Watching this video brought a little bit of a tear to my eye because honestly, this idea is just wow and I had no idea that it was anywhere beyond just the concept stage.  The flying car idea certainly isn't a new one, it has been around for a long long time.

Come inside to view the video and the rest of this discussion.

To me, the idea of a flying car and all of us humans zipping through the sky is something that I want more than almost anything else in the world - the one other thing I want is for space travel to become so common that any normal person can travel between the stars in their own personal Faster than Light Yacht - we can all dream right?  Some people may know that I used to be a Drifter and I always used to say that drifting was the closest I could come to the feeling of flying without actually flying.

Man's desire to fly must be built into our gene's because since the middle ages and the beginning of technology we've been constantly working to figure out cheaper and easier ways to fly.

The flying personal vehicle idea has been around for a long time.

Since the invention of the motor vehicle this idea has continued to evolve
However - at current levels of technology the idea is more silly than usable.  Lets think about this with clarity for a second.

1.  A flying car that uses wings still needs a runway to take off, I doubt we will see cars taking off from freeways any time soon, especially if they require lift to take off.  Power lights, light posts, CCTV Camera Poles, Tree's etc will be a major problem for any flying car.

2.  While the concept looks amazing the fact they've actually built the thing gives me the heeby jeeby's. There is no way you would catch me flying in that thing.  From the video you can tell that, yes it can fly - it's not actually too hard to build something that can catch lift - but it looks incredibly front heavy and constantly wants to nose down.

3. Think of the chaos if we all started flying around in manually controlled flying vehicles - humans already have enough trouble not crashing motor vehicles on the ground.

These are three very big problems in the path of the flying car becoming a reality.

A cool looking thing but it's not a car is it...

Honestly if you've got to take off from a runway just use a Cessna, I suppose it's convenient to be able to land and have a car that you can just drive away from the runway in rather than swapping to a car, but is that really practical?  If you're rich enough to buy a production flying car I'm sure you would be able to afford a regular aircraft and a probably a number of sports cars for the same price.

The blue and grey production concept from AeroMobile is really an incredible idea with amazing engineering and construction, but I personally don't know how much I could trust a rotating wing.   I really don't think this idea works unless at the very least the flying car is VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) like the concept above which is another quite amazing idea but really not very practical - those wheels don't look very CAR like.  I will categorically state that it is my perfect opinion that this is going to happen without three very clear technological solutions to the problems above:

In my perfect opinion there three technological breakthrough's are REQUIRED before this idea can become reality.

1.  The flying car must have no wings and must be VTOL at the very least.

2. The only true solution to the whole non aerodynamics of a flying car is anti-gravity and that seems to be a long way off.

3. Advanced computing and AI will need to fly the cars for us because there's no way human's can be trusted to control the vehicles safely.

As such, I think it's a pretty safe bet that everybody travelling around in flying cars is a long way off.

The flying cars in the Fifth Element got it right (mostly).  Audi has a concept skimmer style flying car which really tickles my fancy (see below).  All of this is really going to stay a background niche thing until space travel becomes more normal, because really the only way for this technology to advance is going to be a result of travelling out into the great beyond and unfortunately the human race as a whole seems to care very little about space.  Perhaps if the earth were truly dying it might become important... Perhaps nuclear war would be a good thing?  Kidding...

I really don't care that much about going high in the air, let me skim the ground in one of these babies any day!

Unfortunately, I think for at least the next ten and probably more likely twenty years the everyday flying car will remain an element of Science Fiction rather than Science Fact.

Everyone knows of Agent Coulson's Flying Chevvy Lola right? 

Nothing to serious for today's post but definitely something to think of and considering some richies are putting so much money into trying to build a flying car using current technology I think we'll continue to see more and many different types of these in the near future - I just hope that they don't crash because that will probably hold things back tremendously.