"No warning can save people determined to grow suddently rich" - Lord Overstone

  • 13 hours Institutional Investors Hold A Lot More Crypto Than You Think
  • 14 hours U.S. Treasury Yields Could Be About To Break Out
  • 15 hours Tesla Stock Stumbles On Model 3 Cancellations
  • 16 hours Yuan Rebounds At The Expense Of The U.S. Dollar
  • 18 hours Iraq Unplugged: No Internet, No Protests, No Money
  • 20 hours The Tariff War Could Spark A Debt Crisis In China
  • 2 days Gold Selloff Continues As Dollar Climbs Higher
  • 2 days Gold Investors In A Frenzy Over Sunken Russian Warship
  • 2 days The New King Of Electric Cars
  • 2 days BlackRock Goes Bitcoin
  • 2 days U.S. Banks See Best Earnings Report In Years
  • 2 days The Case For Gold Is Not About Price
  • 2 days Stock Market Sentiment Turns Bullish
  • 3 days What Is Bitcoin Really Supposed To Be?
  • 3 days The Surprising Media Giant Taking On Netflix
  • 3 days Cybersecurity Stocks Are Red-Hot As Election Looms
  • 3 days Americans Grow Weary Of U.S. Trade Policy
  • 3 days What Putin Really Wants From Trump
  • 3 days Europe’s EV Sales Growth Is Slowing
  • 3 days The Looming "Hyper-War"
Geopolitical Uncertainty Weighs On Global Markets

Geopolitical Uncertainty Weighs On Global Markets

As trade war tensions reach…

UK Stocks Bounce Back From Worst Selloff In Years

UK Stocks Bounce Back From Worst Selloff In Years

UK stocks rebounded following Theresa…

The Real Winners Of The Real Estate Business

The Real Winners Of The Real Estate Business

Wall Street is diving head…

Damir Kaletovic

Damir Kaletovic

Writer, Safehaven.com

Damir Kaletovic is a veteran investigative journalist covering Europe and the Middle East, and a senior consultant for Divergente Research.

Contact Author

Flying Cars Are No Longer Science Fiction

Flying Car

Over the past few years, as Hollywood regaled us with futuristic inventions, few of us believed that we would live to see the technology come into existence. The heightened pace of technological innovation, though, seems to be sending us speeding towards a future that may previously have seemed impossible.

Enter the flying car, featured in plenty of sci-fi films, but first prophesied in 1940 by Henry Ford, who said: “Mark my words – a combination aeroplane and motor car is coming.”

Probably only handful of people believed in this futuristic possibility at the time.

Everyone is going to want one, and this time it’s not technology that’s holding the idea back, it’s regulations and infrastructure. The flying car is already here. After all, how quickly can parking lots—or driveways, for that matter--be turned into runways? And would these cars even need runways?

For the first flying cars, we won’t be pilots—we’ll be passengers, and everything will be controlled by a complex GPS system and a brand new air-traffic control concept.

And we’re closer than you think…

Last week, the German government signed a letter of intent that effectively gives the greenlight for testing of the flying taxi in and around the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, the hometown of Audi.

Audi has teamed up with airplane maker Airbus and design house Italdesign to unveil Pop.Up Next, a reworked version of the two-seat autonomous vehicle concept, unveiled for the first time at last year's Geneva Motor Show.

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Italdesign

Pop.Up Next revolves around a passenger pod that attaches to a skateboard-like platform, but that can hook up to a drone for times when flying is more convenient. The air module can fly some 30 miles on each charge of its 70-kWh battery, using eight electric motors that can reach a speed of 336 mph.

While greenlighting the project, German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said that flying taxis are no longer just a vision.

“They can take us off into a new dimension of mobility…They're a huge opportunity for companies and young startups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully," Scheuer said.

When we’ll start seeing commercial production, though, is anyone’s guess. That depends on quite a few variables, starting with testing in Germany.

Airbus and Italdesign believe it could be somewhere between seven and 10 years.

For now, this project is about preparing the public mindset for what is to come—and it’s about fierce tech competition.

Check out Uber, for instance.

The ride-hailing giant is already negotiating the technology and safety infrastructure with its research into Elevate, a fleet of electric, autonomous, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aerial taxis. And they’re planning to launch by 2020 in Dubai and Dallas-Fort Worth, with other cities to follow. Related: U.S. Market Growth Weighs On The Global Economy

Uber’s vision is one of “vertiports” in city centers’, controlled by new concept of air-traffic control.

Volocopter, a German startup backed by Intel and Daimler has built a drone-like electric helicopter to ferry travelers across cities. And it’s already completed test flights and seeks to offer first commercial trips in the next three to five years.

In November, Geely, the Chinese owner of Volvo and Lotus, acquired Terrafugia, a U.S. flying-car developer that plans on delivering its first flying car to the market by 2019, and then launch its VTOL by 2023.

With an investment of $100 million, Toyota is also working on a fully electric, VTOL, computer-controlled flying car and has teamed up with Jetblue.

It seems like most naysayers still in the room will soon be silenced by this onslaught of innovation.

By Damir Kaletovic for Safehaven.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment