Imagine cutting your daily commuting time from 1 hour to 15 minutes with an autonomous or semi-autonomous flying car! New technologies such as extremely accurate GPS are making science fiction ideas a practical possibility in the very near future, but GPS now needs to be capable of location in 3D.
IndustryTap reported on “Legal Flying Cars Just Two Years Away,” the PAL-V flying car and the Terrafugia TF-X out of Boston. Other entrants include MARCO Industries SkyRider, Urban Aeronautics X-Hawk, and Joby Aviation’s Air Taxi. With a deluge of innovations taking place in the airline industry and widespread frustration over how airline commuters are nickeled and dimed, there is plenty of interest in innovation, giving flying cars a new chance to catch on.
Flying car companies measure the viability of their business models based on “cost per mile” with current costs of flying cars estimated at about $0.60/mile. Obviously, over time, and with adoption, this cost will come down, but it’s low enough to support a fledgling industry.
Some ideas/challenges include:
- flying carpools
- computer controlled, highly automated flying cars
- having enough runways for flying cars to land
- auto flying and auto landing technology
The flying car industry is moving fast with many new entrants and the typical smattering of bankruptcies. Through this, there is an evolving sense of how flying car commuting will work and how it is destined to significantly change airport activity and the lives of commuters.
One highly-touted version of the flying car, the Sky Commuter, designed by Boeing and with a development price tag of $11 million, recently went up for auction. The Sky Commuter is a gas powered tricopter that is also propelled by exhaust from the engine thrusting out the back.
Sky Commuter claimed to have tested the vehicle, achieving maximum speeds of 85 mph (135 kph) with a range of 225 miles. However, the company neglected to film and photograph their accomplishments and were unable to convince investors to further support their efforts.