We’ve waited long enough, haven’t we? Some of you of a certain age will recall that as early as the 1970s we were being told that there were flying cars coming. Not in science fiction movies or Jetsons cartoons, but actual flying cars you could use to get around. And it never happened. At least not until now.
Sadly, the only way you may get to drive one is if you enlist in the Air Force. Because that’s who is going to start building them and I don’t think they’ll be sharing any with the general public. (Government Executive)
If you thought that flying cars were just for Marty McFly or maybe Rick Deckard, the U.S. Air Force has some good news for you. This fall, service officials will kick off Agility Prime, an effort to harness the commercial world’s work on flying cars and, eventually, replace the V-22 Osprey.
Will Roper, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, described the program at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference on Tuesday as “a low-hanging opportunity” to “look into where commercial innovation is going in flying cars.”
Roper said he asked a team at the Air Force Research Lab “to come back with an acquisition strategy that has a variety of different options to pursue — a competition, a challenge, I think, is a very compelling option. We’ve been socializing the idea over at the White House and inside the Department.”
The report informs us that this is actually the second time the Air Force has looked into this possibility. They gave it a hearing in 2016 but abandoned the plan because there was opposition from leadership. And there remains some opposition today. The cars would only hold two people, at least in one of the prototypes being explored. They would be ultraquiet and stealthy, so special forces could come in low and get behind enemy lines.
That’s problematic in terms of the normal military mindset. You generally want to be able to put all your troops down at once where they can see and quietly communicate with each other. Using these sorts of vehicles, would you wind up with a bunch of special ops guys worrying about finding a place to park and then all hooking up with each other?
Of course, I’ve never been entirely sold on the idea of widely available flying cars for use by regular commuters. We already have idiots causing all sort of death and destruction with vehicles that never leave the ground. Also, consider the security concerns. Most facilities requiring protection rely on gates or steel bollards to prevent someone from just crashing through with their car or truck. How will you stop cars that can fly? The entire thing strikes me as problematic.
Still, it’s always fun to dream about. And it reminds me of this guy, speaking of blasts from the past. This commercial is from the year 2000 and it still holds up today.