Watch this demo of a flying car, future almost here

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/31/watch-this-demo-of-a-flying-ca.html

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“Flying Car Almost Here!” has been a staple of Popular Mechanics covers for more than 60 years.

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Is that Jules-Pierre Mao?

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Video link for the BBS


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58kEzTpPzS0
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I’m all about flying cars, but I hate this trope that the future has somehow “arrived”. Usually this gets phrased as, “History ended with allied victory in WW2, the good guys won, everything since has just been tidying up the details, you all can go shopping”

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Not having flying cars really isn’t about the technology of making the car fly anyway. A bad fog can cause 50+ car pileups with the tech we have.With 30-40k people dying yearly in two dimensional traffic accidents in the US, imagine if you add another dimension, stacking lanes that are no visible lanes at all.

This won’t work until we have perfected auto-pilot to the point that no driver interaction is necessary, whatsoever. We need to do that in two dimensions, first.

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Vonnegut wrote that one day our entire history would be summed up as: “After the death of Christ, there was a period of readjustment that lasted approx. 2000 years”

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This is a car? Cars have tires and stuff, right? Add a few hundred pounds of rubber, rims and axles then get back us.

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Yep, that’s the thing. A “flying car” that isn’t fully autonomous means having a pilot’s license and taking off and landing at an official airport/heliport. Since that doesn’t scale up, the first has to be difficult/expensive and the second rare/expensive. Even an autonomous flying car would require, at minimum, traditional aircraft style maintenance records, so it could never actually be like a car.

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That demo really stretches the definition of “sky.”

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Oh, Gawd. Not again.

I guess with Moller pretty much have given up, someone else has to supply gullible / lazy journalists with “The Flying Car is Finally Here!” stories.

“Imagine you’re on the way home, stuck in rush hour freeway hell. Soon, you’ll be able to pull a lever, rise into the air, and soar over the traffic!”

Was it here or on Twitter that someone wrote about working in an office near Moller’s testing ground, and that a test of one of his “flying cars” basically shut down work because of the noise.

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What was blurred out around 1:11?

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I have a feeling that safety is something that can eventually be solved with technology, but a significant and maybe unsolvable long-term hurdle for widespread adoption and use of small personal aircraft would be the nuisance issues of having the skies above our cities and neighborhoods clogged with noisy, low-altitude, and privacy-invading vehicles. Similar to how the SST got killed largely over noise concerns, I think that NIMBYism (or in this case would it be NOMBYism?) will be what prevents this particular future from coming to pass.

That said, there probably will be a limited application for these to be used by wealthy people similar to how and where executive helicopter services operate now.

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Look man, NON-flying cars just don’t sell magazines.

At least the last time they ran that cover they included an apt punchline.

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The third season of Westworld had very believable applications of such ideas.

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Until the tech exists to fully automate the flight controls, this tech will never be mainstream. I barely trust those driving around me to operate responsibly in 2 dimensions.

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Car autopilot is way more difficult due to complexity of environment and interactions with other vehicles.
VTOL aircraft are probably the best candidate for fully autonomous vehicle, due to the simplicity of takeoff and landing procedures.
It may be counterintuitive, but 3d autopilot for aerial vehicles is incomparably simpler than 2d one for cars. There’s a lot more space available.

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Sure, now. The whole flying car mythology, though, is one in every driveway. To make such things work, you’d be right back to “roads” and “lanes”, interactions, since everyone flying in all directions, including up and down, at once is inconceivable.

I can see how it would be simpler in something like the Westworld utilization, granted. Flying Uber for the Ultra Elite isn’t really what these articles intend, though, seems like.

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So as much as a Prius is just a very fancy golf cart, this is just a very large drone you can sit in. These should be outfitted with tanks and hoses to fight forest fires.

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