Share on Facebook: on.fb.me/11mqrFn Flying cars are finally here! Well...almost here. Companies like Aeromobil and Terrafugia are working on bringing our science fiction fantasies to life. If flying cars become an important part of our future, we will need to sort out some important issues. How does someone get a license to drive a flying car? How do we handle matters of fuel efficiency and pollution? Do you think that flying cars are just hype, or will they be part of our future in a few years? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts! -------------------------------------------------------- Subscribe to Fw:Thinking: www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=fwthinking For the audio podcast, blog and more, visit the Fw:Thinking website: www.fwthinking.com Fw:Thinking on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fwthinking Jonathan Stickland on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jonstrickland Fw:Thinking on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FWThinking01 Fw:Thinking on Google+: plus.google.com/u/0/108500616405453822675/ [TRANSCRIPT]: Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads! Flying cars are finally (almost) here! But are they going to live up to the hype? You know, honestly, I don't know how flying cars became the cliché of science fiction. Maybe it was films like Blade Runner and The Fifth Element that made flying cars look so mundane and dingy that it's a wonder we weren't turned off by the concept in the first place. But then when I think about it, the reason really becomes obvious. I mean according to Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Americans spent 5.5 billion hours in traffic in 2011. That's over 600 thousand years! But when you're stuck in traffic, nothing seems more enticing than the thought of floating off the ground and zipping directly to your destination. So is this just science fiction fantasy? Maybe not. The Aeromobil V2.5 is propeller-driven, two seater that theoretically you can drive from your house to the local airstrip and go on a flight of around 400 miles or so. Just don't forget to unfold the wings first. And then the American company Terrafugia is working on a similar roadable aircraft called the Transition. And they plan on having that available on the market by 2015. But when most of us think flying cars, we're not really thinking about something we have to drive to the airport to use. We want a vertical take off and landing vehicle similar to the Delorean at the end of Back to the Future. But that's much, much harder. Ok. It's future time. It's morning rush hour and the in-town roads are gridlocked. But you simply roll over to the nearest vertical takeoff and landing pad - stopping at the drive-through for coffee and a bagel on the way. Once you reach a takeoff area with about fifty feet of clearance on all sides you hit the switch. Vertical takeoff might be done with a system of ducted fans, or a cutting edge quadrotor design, or maybe tiltrotors, like the V-22 Osprey, except retractable for driving mode. Now vertical takeoff is usually a loud, dangerous, and fuel guzzling affair, but some solutions could be on the way. A hybrid power system that uses electric motors could cut noise pollution and harmful emissions. And designers could improve fuel efficiency by using lightweight composite materials to cut down on that base vehicle weight. Plus, flying cars could naturally improve the odds by flying in a straight line to their destination, not taking that zig-zagging, stop and start approach that city drivers have to take. Now if you want to control one of these vehicles yourself, you're probably going to have to get a pilots license. Now that might sound like a bummer to you, but it's great news for everybody else. I mean just imagine that guy who cut you off in traffic this morning. Do you really want that guy piloting a thousand pound vehicle fifty feet over your head? There is a better solution, and it's autonomous, autonomous, autonomous. If flying cars are to be a wide-spread part of our future, they absolutely have to be autonomous, very much like the proposed design for the TF-X. Instead of piloting the vehicle yourself, you push a button and let the computer do the job. You just enjoy your bagel and your coffee on your very short trip to work.