Recently, there has been a huge spotlight on changes happening in the transportation industry. While the media may only be focusing on driverless cars, another transformation may be coming our way. Although there are still many problems to be solved, companies and inventors are working on building the next technological revolution - flying cars.
Currently, roads in big cities are often congested. While solutions like subways and other forms of public transportation exist, taking to the sky could provide an even better solution. Flying cars would have unlimited space and require almost no infrastructure construction. Traveling would also be faster since one could take the most direct route to their destination.
One major problem with creating a car-airplane hybrid is keeping an aerodynamic design. Considering that these cars would still have to drive and fit on the road, wide wings and tails would not be an option. A folding or collapsing system would lead to uneven and jagged edges, disrupting the aerodynamics of the car. According to Sam Bousfield, lead inventor and engineer at Samson Motorworks, the answer could be swinging wings which store underneath the body when driving and swing out when flying. This way, designers could maintain the streamlined structure of today’s airplane wings.
Another problem with flying cars would be finding places to take off and land. The inconvenience of searching for an open runway or landing strip would take away from the efficiency flying cars could bring. Former MIT aerospace engineers who founded Terrafugia, a company dedicated to creating flying cars, believe a solution is designing the vehicles more like helicopters than planes. A helicopter-like structure would allow cars to become airborne vertically, requiring little room to take off or land.
Furthermore, many people may not want to go through the hassle of getting a pilot’s license. One answer to this problem could be combining the technologies of driverless and flying cars. Artificial intelligence could pilot vehicles for people, which would also eliminate the problem of insufficient space for aircraft controls/
Flying cars could be more than just a novelty for the rich. Inventions like flying ambulances could be highly beneficial for society. As the technology improves, it could become cheaper and more accessible to the average person, as seen with other inventions such as the television and smartphone.