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Do We Really Want Flying Cars?

Do We Really Want Flying Cars?
Image by Pixy

In the year 2000, Avery Brooks faced the camera in an IBM commercial to ask, “Where are the flying cars?” He said he was promised flying cars. Yet as he looked around him in stony irritation, he proclaimed that he didn’t see any flying cars. It was a solid introduction to a flaccid ending. He informed us that we don’t need flying cars because IBM was busy creating better software. Allow me to offer a better, more sensible reason why we don’t have flying cars: It is because they are stupid and would be the end of civilization as we know it. That is what I wish Avery Brooks had said 21 years ago. 

Despite that, there will always be a handful of people who keep trying to make flying cars happen. This flying race car is just one of many concepts you will never have a chance to buy. So far, flying car attempts have been variations of airplanes, helicopters, and drones. This one is a drone with a vaguely car-shaped cabin. It is not at all what anyone envisioned when they were calling for flying cars. If you are in the auto business at any level, here are a few good reasons to keep four wheels in contact with the ground at all times:

Logistics Nightmare

If you are an auto parts supplier, you already know about Shipware. That is the service that makes sure you get all the shipping discounts to which you are entitled. This is how they describe their FedEx audit service:

Your weekly carrier invoices are loaded with errors. From late shipments to incorrect address corrections, charges for service failures and billing errors can account for 1% to 9% of your total invoice. Our proprietary shipping audit software automatically claims all eligible refunds, ensuring your shipping carriers are held accountable.

Even with our extremely reliable methods of shipping parcels, things go wrong, and order fulfillment suffers as a result. Imagine the carnage when every Tom, Dick, and Harriet are zipping around. Presently, it is easy for freight airliners to take off and land. The skies are mostly wide open. Even so, air traffic control is kept on their toes. Expect a lot of delays when the airways look like freeways. Nobody wants this, especially the people whose livelihood depends on logistics. 

Less for Car Enthusiasts to Love

You might think that adding another dimension to race cars would give car enthusiasts more to enjoy. But that is not how it would happen at all. Car enthusiasts would be bored of the whole affair because there would be nothing for them to do. The everyday mechanic already has little to do anymore because the cars are sealed and computerized. That state of affairs would be 100 times worse with flying cars. They would be all computers with almost zero human input. There are cars that are being adversely affected by the computer chip shortage right now. That is because they are computers on wheels. It could make airplane and drone enthusiasts very happy. But gearheads and aeronautical fans represent very different audiences. 

If you think about what a flying car race would be like, you quickly discover more issues. There is a reason we don’t have Jetplane races. They go too fast to be appreciated with the naked eye. They are too far away. And the whole thing would be too dangerous to justify. On a racetrack, a collision might happen, but the spectators would be fine. If the cars crashed above the audience, it would be a bad day for everyone. It is an idea that gets less practical the more you think about it.

It Wouldn’t Be a Car Anymore

Flying drone
Photo by Jacob Jensen on Unsplash

There is a reason cars look like cars and planes look like planes, and copters look like copters. These vehicles have evolved to reach a near idyllic form to accommodate their function. If you make a car that does what a drone can do, it would not be a car anymore. It would just be a drone. In this way, “flying car” is somewhat oxymoronic. Something that is truly a car, as you know it, can never fly. If we ever get a personalized, flying vehicle, it most certainly will not be a car.

Logistical nightmares, enthusiast alienation, and tautological realities aside, do you really want the person who cut you off on your way to work to be allowed to drive that way in a third dimension? I didn’t think so. 

Featured Image by Pixy