Chitty-chitty-bang-bang, we love you. Popular Mechanics has a neat article on the history and future of flying cars, including the nifty 1956 Aerocar that was able to “leap from the highway at 55 mph and cruise up to 100 mph at around 12,000 ft. with a range of up to 300 mi.”
NASA has jumped into the action with a 15-year plan to launch three successive models.
The first, scheduled for 2008, will resemble a compact Cessna with folding wings that converts to road use (it shouldn’t cost any more than a Mercedes-Benz). The second, with a rollout planned for 2015, will be a two-person pod with small wings and a rear-mounted propeller. The third will rise straight up like a mini-Harrier jet and should be on the market by 2020.
And what about the danger of mid-air collissions?
Personal air vehicles will use GPS and cell phone technology to automatically broadcast information about location and speed to ground-based towers. From the ground, an automated computer system will update the flight path of every sky vehicle and provide instant directions—automatically avoiding collisions and minimizing flight time. Meanwhile, on-board sensors will detect nearby trees, buildings and power lines and avoid collisions.
Move over George Jetson – the future is coming.