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In 1940 Henry Ford stated “Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come”. And Whilst Glenn didn’t quite get off the ground for more than a few seconds at a time, Henry was right, and the precedent had been set, the fire of possibility lit.
Far too often we have seen the ‘mad scientist’ or ‘backyard hero’ types shouting from the rooftops that their car will be ‘the one’ to fly. Rarely is there any substance to the claims, and though the appeal is obvious, and the media excitement palpable, the flash in the pan often dissipates just as quickly.
This was up until this year, when Airbus announced it will be ready to launch their first flying car – Project Vahana (a self-piloted personal aircraft) - by the end of 2017. While other large companies such as Boeing have dabbled in this, when there is a credible name and a defined date, the announcement has the market paying attention. Wait, you may say, since when are Airbus in the technology space? We have seen the market disruptors enter and we have also seen the diversification of innovation from a traditional market player into green fields – and this the case today.
The practicalities of this type of vehicle however is often overlooked, in place of headline grabbing statements and hype – so I thought we should reflect on some of the realities that must be considered before the flying car is even on our horizons. This is merely a small set of the factors which would need to be addressed:
Whilst it may currently appear as pie in the sky, if these concerns can be addressed by an organisation and they produce a practical, safe, affordable option for a flying car, then the world is truly their oyster – as the market is wide open for innovation in transport. There would be many practical applications were these vehicle to take off, such as:
There is still a good deal more work to be done before we see these flying cars. It is encouraging however, to see that serious players such as Airbus are entering the arena, as this means this future may become a reality sooner than we think.
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