It’s hard to be sure, but I think I wrote my first letter to the editor of a local newspaper about the lack of flying cars somewhere around 2003. I blame it on Avery Brooks and the commercial he did for IBM in the year 2000.
Early developments in flying car technology weren’t all that promising, but finally, seventeen years later, we may be on track to have the first flying taxi. Daimler has made a major investment in flying taxi firm Volocopter, and they seem to think they they’ll be on the road, er… sorry. In the air by next year. (Reuters)
Germany’s Volocopter said it has received 25 million euros ($30 million) in funding to develop an electric flying taxi, with car and truck maker Daimler among the firms providing fresh cash.
Daimler joined a consortium which includes technology investor Lukasz Gadowski, who sits on the supervisory board of Delivery Hero, and others, Volocopter said on Tuesday.
Volocopter said it is developing a five-seat vertical take off and landing (VTOL) electric vehicle aimed at the taxi market and plans to carry out initial demonstrations in the fourth quarter of 2017.
A five passenger model means that the driver can take four passengers around the city without waiting in traffic. And this isn’t something that’s still in the conceptual stage so they can string us on for another seventeen years. Volocopter is already flying and have been since 2014. In this 2016 demo film they show one of their smaller models going through its paces. Pay particular attention to the spring of 2016 demo around the one minute mark.
Did you notice something missing from that flight? There was no driver. They were flying the craft remotely from beginning to end. And you know what that means, right? Just like Uber and a bunch of other companies, we’re probably talking about driverless taxis in the sky. You just whip out your phone, fire up the Uber app (or by that time maybe the Aeber app), and hail your car/plane. An empty drone shows up and waits for you and your friends to get onboard and then it sails off to the roof of whatever building you’re heading for. It charges the ride to your credit card and you think no more about it.
It’s almost like something out of the Jetsons back when I was a kid. And it’s the fastest, most efficient way to get around the city. At least until the hackers get into the software when you’re five hundred feet above downtown Atlanta.
On second thought, I think I’ll stick with my Uber. With a human driver, please.