Talking Motors: Forget Airbus: This is how a car should fly
It sounds like something out of a 1950s comic.
Workers step out of offices into Uber Doober cars, but instead of wheels carrying them into a soul-destroying queue of traffic, they take off for a journey home via the sky.
But if you are to believe Airbus, this scene may not be as far into the future as an episode of The Jetsons looked when we were kids.
The company said earlier this week they plan to test a self-piloted flying car by the end of the year, and is expecting to put them into production as early as 2021.
Airbus, which formed a division called Urban Air Mobility last year, has been working on what it calls ‘vertical take-off and landing’ technology, that would allow vehicles to pick-up passengers in busy areas, and CEO Tom Enders said the company was taking the development ‘very seriously’.
Mr Enders may be being serious, but I just can’t see anyone flipping down their sunglasses and proclaiming “we don’t need roads,” in my lifetime. There is a whole bunch of issues, cost being the most obvious, before we even get to fuel and infrastructure, which will torpedo this project before it gets off the ground (pun intended).
Enders said: “With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads.” But surely there would have to be some sort of traffic control - not to mention new driving tests for all these new pilots, and then there will be mind-boggling implications with tax and insurance.
And as for the environment? Enders said Airbus recognized such technologies would have to be clean to avoid further polluting congested cities. Please. That is never going to happen.
I can see the polar bears packing their things already.
Fake news? It reads like it.
But say just for a second this flying car business is the real deal, and we could all one day be flying around in a hire-purchase Nissan Cirrocumulus?
DeLorean fans would be scrambling for the first conversion kits they could get their hands on, but for me, the only choice is obvious –get me my Hogwarts cape and magic wand!
I would clog the skies in a Ford Anglia 105E Deluxe, even if I would undoubtedly have trouble keeping up if its air speed is the same as on the ground.
A top speed of 73mph is complemented by a hair-raising 0-60 time of 26.9 seconds, which should be plenty for lift-off, and it will keep a sturdy British icon preserved in a brave new age.
I genuinely endure, rather than enjoy, Harry Potter for the person I love, but I will concede that anything featuring an interesting car redeems itself slightly.
The Anglia would certainly be up to the task, maybe the enchanted car would be up for a trek to Surrey and back - though I doubt future modifications would also enable me to carry eight people, six trunks, two owls and a rat.
Which leaves me to wonder if Airbus should embrace this route into flying cars instead, and put all that money into developing an invisibility booster.