Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why There May Never be Flying Cars

Many of us grew up watching cartoons such as the Jetsons.  It appeared that any view of the future of transportation included flying cars.  The concept seems good.  A flying car seems to be a logical step beyond the road-bound car.  It frees up capacity and is very flexible.  In 1989, the view of 2015 transportation included flying cars.  The makers of Back to the Future Part II even considered that cars would be amphibious (land/air) and that existing cars could be retrofitted for $39,999.95.
However something occurred in 2001 that may have halted the idea of flying cars forever.  Can anyone imagine the logicical  and security nightmare of keeping flying cars from being used by terrorists?  It would be impossible.  One can argue that a surface vehicle can be a suicide bomber.  That is correct.  However, it is obvious that a flying vehicle could hit a number of targets impossible to access in a land vehicle and inflict far more damage.  As recent as the final Star Wars Trilogy, flying cars were exhibited in the big screen.  Sadly, maybe, it will probably never happen.
Where does that leave us?  Although cars will change and evolve and eventually no longer rely on fossil fuels, we will probably always have them in some form or fashion.  We will also continue to have trains and planes unless something unforeseen occurs. 
Given all of this, those in the Intelligent Transportation field will continue to seek ways to maximize the efficiency of surface transportation in the way it appears today - mostly through current ITS technology and managed lanes.


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