Will We Soar Into the Future in Flying Cars?

Will We Soar Into the Future in Flying Cars?

Flying Cars

Ever since I saw the movie Total Recall (the original 1990 version of course), I’ve wanted to take to the skies in my shiny new flying car. Even as an adult, the concept of a flying car is still quite an intriguing thought for me. Soaring across the world– free from expensive airline tickets, traffic jams, and every excuse I’ve ever had for never traveling the globe. Lucky for me and all of the other 80’s babies that grew up dreaming about ditching wheels for wings, times have changed at lot since the early 90’s and today’s technological innovation has opened the door for this modern marvel to come to life.

Although, several different prototypes for flying cars have been conceived since the early 1900’s, none of them possessed the practicality needed to implement public utilization. I’d imagine that it’s not too easy to construct an aircraft with the operational simplicity and standardization to be sold to everyday commuters. It’s probably even harder to find anyone outside of the world’s richest 1% with an airline-sized driveway.

Now comes Terrafugia, a progressive aviation company of accomplished MIT graduates that boasts a new and ground-breaking conceptualism for amateur aviators. Carl Dietrich, chief executive of Terrafugia, and his team have unveiled an innovative wonder called the TF-X. It’s a cutting edge aircraft that Dietrich’s team hopes will revolutionize the way we travel. Its mechanical structure is similar to a military aircraft called the V-22 Osprey and it comes equipped with back seats and a hybrid electric engine. However, the most inventive feature of the aircraft is the self-regulating nature of its computer system which makes driving the TF-X a breeze, even for the most novice of pilots. Although the TF-X is not completely autonomous, it is essentially in control of everything other than steering during flight. It will even intrude on this flying freedom if necessary.

The system is designed to adjust trajectories and override pilot control in the event of things like inclement weather or the possibility of collision. With a top speed of 200 miles per hour, non-acclimated fliers will definitely need these safeguards while zipping from cloud to cloud. Now before all you airspace enthusiasts get to excited, note that the TF-X will initially be priced at around $280,000. Perhaps the price will dip once sales catch on, but there are a couple other things to consider as well. What if Terrafugia succeeds in making the flying car a vital part of our new way of life, but its presence doesn’t have the effects we’d expect. What if TF-Xs go into mass production and the sky is inundated with flying traffic.

Global distribution means that eventually billions of people will be zipping back and forth across the globe at a buck-fifty or more. Technology is great, but is the TF-Xs computer system really reliable enough to facilitate this level of international transportation? Furthermore, statistically, flying may be considered to be safer than driving, but planes inherently possess a greater threat of fatality than cars. If your car runs out of gas you pull over to shoulder and call a friend or walk to the nearest gas station, if it happens in a plane you nose dive to grown and explode in a fiery crash. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as ready to take a trip to mars as the next guy, but are flying cars really practical enough for our present reality?

By Telron Smiley


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