For over half a century, the vision of flying cars has captured the science fiction imagination in books, movies, and commercials. At face value, the idea of a car lifting off the ground and soaring through the air is a wonderful dream, but there are more than a few caveats to making them a widely distributed reality. As people sit in traffic jams across the country, more than a few people have wished they could simply rise up off the ground and zoom past the tangled ground based transportation system.
Our current system of transportation includes planes, so why not convert automobiles for low level flight as well? On close examination, the idea of flying cars goes way beyond the engineering limitations. Today’s traffic is centered on using roads and highways as directive paths for managing transportation. For our machines that are capable of flight, there are rules about altitude, flying over cities, and controlling traffic in existing air space. Automobiles equipped for flight would change the entire dynamic of the current industry, causing our society to rethink support systems like tires, brakes, engines, roads, fuel, and safety. With the horrendous accidents already taking place using a two dimensional lane changing system, just imagine the nightmare of figuring out how to regulate traffic in three dimensional space, adding the vertical aspects of watching out for crazy drivers who are trying to fly and talk on their cell phones.
A practical auto flight plan would need to be tightly controlled with new rules about vertical lane changes, intersections, traffic flow, and controlled right of way. Taking a car accident off the ground would almost certainly increase the fatality rate of even minor accidents at an astronomically increased rate. Entirely new systems for air traffic control would have to be invented and instituted.
The prospect of driving in a practical automobile based flight system is not likely to take place in this century or the next. Our technology is not advanced enough to put the prospect of aerial navigation into the hands of the average driver, anywhere in this world. It would be a pretty safe bet to assume that you will not be getting off the ground in a car within the foreseeable future. If science fiction writers want to project the future of our commute to work, they had better stick with ground based systems or teleportation devices as the means most likely to be found in our future. At least with teleportation, the advent of this new technology would have a greater potential for changing the face of transportation methods almost over night, using a single new technology to accomplish a real transformation of our society.
John Dir Director of Software Concepts BHO Technologists - LittleTek Center Teaching computers to work with people. We make software more fun for everyone. Stop by for a visit to our web site, and see what a difference ITL technology makes! http://home.earthlink.net/~jdir/