Skip to main content
Now building my TET.Life Store.

Revisiting the 'Flying Car' - How much closer are we?

Movie Flying Cars - Doc Brown's Delorean (top)
S.H.I.E.L.D's Agent Colsen's 'Lola' (bottom).
My idea (and probably your idea) of a flying car is something that looks like the cars we know today but with the ability to fly through some kind of 'magic' technology that has yet to be invented. Doc Brown's flying Delorean, time machine from Back to the Future or Agent Colsen's Lola from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are two good examples.

Unfortunately anti-gravity vehicles have yet to be invented and attaching some kind of jet turbine thrusters that point downward seems like a lot of pedestrians could get burned when flying at low altitude on trip down the road to the shops. (Assuming that a downward pointing jet engine in each wheel would actually work).

In the real world there's a shift in the definition of what can be called a flying car. A shift so radical that some flying cars don't have wheels and are not even designed to drive on the road.

I've talked about what isn't a flying car back in 2012 in my post Forget Self Driving, Where's My Flying Car, so let's look at what is passing for flying cars in 2017.

AeroMobile. No hanger rental fees is the main benefit of
flying cars that you drive to an airfield for take off.
The first type is the plane that can be driven as a car. These monstrosities require you to drive them to an airfield to get off the ground and look highly impractical for taking through the drive thru of just about anywhere.

They won't be replacing your current car any time soon because without a runway they don't fly and they're impractical for general purpose driving. Seriously, these things look like they'd lose to the speed bumps in a Walmart car park.



More promising are VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) type vehicles, which I think is the first basic requirement of anything calling its self a 'flying car'. If you can't take off from your driveway then there's no hope of any kind of flying cars replacing regular cars.

This Single Person Drone is a concept craft for a
proposed taxi service in Dubai.
Most of this kind of flying car use drone technology, essentially attaching four or more horizontal propellers to the corners of a vehicle. It's a great idea but has a tendency to increase the vehicle's foot print to a much wider area than a regular car - and you could accidentally start blending pedestrians if you were to fly at street level.

Technically these vehicles aren't cars and have more in common with helicopters but at least two companies, one in Dubai, and Uber are looking to create autonomous taxi services using these kind of vehicles. Both transport you to the nearest landing pad closest to your destination with the possibility of using rooftops as potential landing sites.

Airbus also has plans for a drone car hybrid taxi service that looks interesting but is probably not what springs to mind when you hear the words 'flying car'.

Airbus Pop-up is a modular flying car hybrid system that is at least
thinking about getting you from the landing pad to your door.

Most of these drone systems use battery power for short run trips within the radius of your average city and urban sprawl.

One company that appears to be thinking a little differently are the creators of the Lilium Flying car (well everyone else is calling it a flying car but Lilium Aviation themselves call it a VTOL Electric Jet) which has been successfully test flown autonomously.



Lilium Taxi, roof top landing pad concept art.
Not a vehicle you'll be taking the kids to school in but one that is destined to become part of a roof top taxi service similar to Uber's concept.

What's interesting to me about this jet (because, let's face it, it's just not a car) is the electric jet propulsion system which looks pretty darn small and compact. Could you attach those to a more regularly shaped car and be stable enough to fly without the wings? Maybe control the thrust of the engines in a four corner configuration the same way drones control their movement through the air?

If that were possible then maybe we could retro fit current cars with electric jet turbines and make them fly too? At the very least, maybe the designers could come up with a configuration that looks more like a car you'd store in your garage than a plane.

One 'flying car' but not really, I have to mention is the Airmule, a military craft inspired by 'The Bat' from the film The Dark Knight Rises.

The Airmule (right), inspired by 'The Bat', a real VTOL craft
that is more awesome than anything else in 'flying cars'.
The Airmule is basically like an upside down helicopter with it's internal fans underneath the vehicle. What makes it interesting is that you could imagine this flying at street level without turning pedestrians into mince meat.



Flying Cars in The Fifth Element.
We're still a long way off from those flying cars we saw clogging the city air ways between buildings in the movie The Fifth Element (which is actually what I think of when I think 'flying cars').

One thing that I do think is a certainty is that flying cars flown in such close proximity to each other will need to be largely self driving or filled with some serious, anti collision technology. Can you imagine trying to change to a lane beneath you without anything monitoring your blind spots?

Currently we're still fighting gravity with propellers and jet engines to get vehicles off the ground. Whoever discovers how to make an anti-gravity drive is going to be the one to really bring science fiction into reality.

The question is, how do you make something lighter than gravity?

Comments


Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

Finding Time to Skate - Swap a Skateboard Session into Your Weekly Workout Routine

A common problem among skaters dealing with work/life commitments (typically older skaters with families, careers, or both) is finding the time to actually spend on a skateboard. In fact, life in general getting in the way of skateboarding, is what often leads so many to drop out of the sport, only to rediscover it later, once everything else starts to even out.

I'm certainly in that category. Never really giving skateboarding away altogether but only using a skateboard to get from A to B, when I didn't have a vehicle, for many years. In the last couple of years I've been trying to get back into the sport properly, i.e. building up my trick list and skating for fun and not just to get from A to B.

The problem is I have so many interests, projects, paid work, and more, that I would often leave skateboarding to the end of my day. Kind of as something to look forward to. Except I wouldn't be that motivated to really improve because my mind would be fried from everything …

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard.

I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned.

Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board.

The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your front toe downward, mid drag, causing the front of the board to drop away from your foot. I demonstrate this method in my v…

Making Money with Stock Photography and Skillshare Courses - Two Real Life Experiences

I'm a big advocate for earning a living online through various business opportunities that you can start with little to no up front capital. Two that I've often mentioned are stock photography sites and creating an online course.

Personally I haven't done either because I've gone down the Print on Demand, Blogging, and Selling Digital Products path of making money online, starting with next to no capital. Though I am planning an online course in the near future.

However, I recently came across two videos that dive into the detail of earning money through stock photography sites and creating online courses that I thought were really worth your time if either sounds like something you want to do.

Earning Money with Stock PhotographyRachel Lerch is a photographer who spent three years earning a living through taking photos for several stock photography sites. In this video she gives a very detailed run down of her business, and pretty much everything you need to know goi…

How Much Can You Earn from YouTube Ad Revenue?

It's rare for any YouTuber to talk specifics on the ad revenue they earn from their YouTube channel because Google didn't originally like anyone talking specifics on ad revenue earnings to the point where it used to be part of the Terms of Service not to discuss it.

It appears they've changed their stance because I reviewed their current TOS and it is now says you can accurately disclose your gross earnings if you wish.

Getting back to the point of this article, YouTuber and Business Coach, Roberto Blake posted a video detailing how much he earns just from ad revenue on his YouTube account.

Before watching the video it's important to note, ad revenue isn't his only income source, or even his main income source. The point is to give you some idea of how a relatively small, niche channel like Roberto's can earn fairly decent ad revenue, potentially even out earning larger channels due to the type of content he makes.



After watching the above video you might thin…