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Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard


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At this stage it has an endurance of only about 10 minutes, but as a first step the SkyDrive Inc. “flying car” has flown with a person on board.

 

ABC report here.

 

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Dual function things must by definition compromise one or both functions. How does it fly safely after a little nudge in the ground hugger mode? Nev

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Ho Hum. Yet another flying car concept. There are a lot under development, mostly autonomous in theory designed to move 1 to 6 people from airports to cities. Google, Uber, & Airbus have prototypes along with the Terragugia and Porsche has teamed up with Boeing to produce a prototype this year though that may now be on the back burner & Hyundai has entered the field but as yet without a prototype. Then there is the Volocopter, Opener Backfly, the list goes on.

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There is also the Maverick flying car that has been around for more than a decade:

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While flying cars can be made, and as Tomohiro Fukuzawa says, their commercial viability will depend on the purchase price and endurance, their numbers in practical use would never get much above the number of private aircraft for the simple reason of the stupidity of the population. Can you imaging the annual death toll if people operated flying cars with the lack of skill and consideration that they operate ground vehicles now?

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CASA will have to double its size and triple the amount of regulations, if the Japs ever reach the stage of a viable flying car. I can't imagine them ever becoming viable, until a fully automated guidance system is part of the design.

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There is one simple thing that will prevent the widespread adoption of flying vehicles of this type: FRICTION.

 

It's easy to get a vehicle airborne for a sustained period, but use your experience to answer the question: How far will a vehicle travel before stopping without friction. You all learned about emergency stopping distances from various speeds for cars. There the car has the opportunity to have its wheels stop rolling and to be slowed by the friction between the road surface and the tyre. Imagine the situation in your own plane in the air if you were suddenly required to stop its forward motion and could not go left, right, up or down. Could you stop your plane? And therein lies the thing that prevents flying vehicles replacing ground vehicles for common use.

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Some form of immediately-applicable reverse thrust could overcome that problem - but there's no need to come to a stop in the air if avoidance systems are perfected.

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Some form of immediately-applicable reverse thrust could overcome that problem - but there's no need to come to a stop in the air if avoidance systems are perfected.

 

The Sci-Fi concept, of a mass transportation involving the use of airborne vehicles, is based on replacing ground vehicles with airborne ones, but having them travel on similarly congested routes. We know that it only takes one person to stuff up amongst that congestion for a major pile up to occur. All the CAS in the world won't save us from the self-centredness we see regularly on our roads.

 

Just imagine a line of airborne vehicles travelling along a congested route all at the same speed. If, for some reason not apparent to the operators of vehicles back down the route, someone slows or stops suddenly, you can bet that there will be rear-enders galore. They don't usually result in serious injury for ground vehicles, but airborne vehicles have that extra bit of the quick stop when they reach the ground.

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That's the simple reason why any flying car or personal air transportation system will have to be completely autonomous, with a "self-flying" system. It will come.

Maybe not within 20 years, but like every other system, someone will make it a reality one day.

If you brought someone dead back from, say, even the 1970's, imagine their stunned response to current vehicle technology in the form of automatic headlights, ABS, lane-control steering, and anti-rear-end collision systems - or even airbags.

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It will come

 

But is it really worth it?

 

As an intellectual and technology experiment - YES, but as a practical mass transportation method - NO.

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