“Same Old Article on Flying Cars” in The Economist

“Same Old Article on Flying Cars” in The Economist
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Dezso Molnar sent me a link to an Economist article on the promise of flying cars yesterday. He commented that it was the “same old article on flying cars.”

Dezso should know. He’s been building flying cars for several years. I asked him to comment on the article. He wrote:

The writer refers to a generation disappointed. Baby-boomers have enjoyed the blessings of technical advancement unparalleled in history, and together traveled trillions of comfortable miles in airliners. Comparatively, they put little effort into making aircraft more personal.

A complete infrastructure for flight already exists, people only need to join in. Look up — the skies are virtually empty. The rules of the air are international. English is the selected language. Easy. We just need a few people like Mr. Dietrich to start punching holes in the pervasive myth that vehicles that drive the roads on rainy days can’t fly when its sunny. They most certainly can, and there is value in that.

And yes, the writer is correct, there have been some recent signs of progress, but to say the Transition is only a step on the way to a “true sky car that can take off and land anywhere”, is to say anything else is useless and dissuade development. The state of the art for any technology is what is now, and all improvements are stepping stones to the next one if people endeavor to go there. Has the auto industry progressed beyond the Model T, which burned gas that could run out, sat in long lines when the roads were full, required a license for the driver, had 4 seats and could get a flat tire? Not really. Perhaps it was good enough, and fortunately Ford did not wait to design a “true car”.

The good news is that the path is clear for flying cars to start traveling – no cel towers need to be built in support as for mobile phones, or steel tracks laid as for locomotives. As such, mass production is not required at this stage, just a fresh approach.

Learn more about Dezso’s fresh approach on his website

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Mark Frauenfelder is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Make: magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

View more articles by Mark Frauenfelder


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