Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010

Flying Cars

When we met George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy and Jane (his wife), we met them in their flying automobile. Back to the Future II memorably featured flying cars, as did Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and loads of other movies. Indeed, the flying car is a staple of most respectable fictional future worlds. Yet compared with some other futuristic goals (like, say, time travel or teleportation) flying cars really don't seem all that far-fetched. We have cars. We have planes. Why don't we have flying cars? Granted, their mechanics may be tricky. And they would require some complicated infrastructure. And perhaps fuel could be a problem. And sure, some people have a hard enough time getting their driver's licenses ...

But the dream lives! The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Transformer program is aimed at creating four-person "vertical takeoff and landing, road-worthy vehicles." Terrafugia is working on the Transition Roadable Aircraft, and according to the company's website, they're supposed to be out next year and "over 80 aircraft have been reserved." Of course, the website also notes that "the Transition isn't designed to replace anyone's car, but it could replace your airplane." So ... it's not for everyone.