Another week, another flying car. Well, kinda.
This time it’s not a flying car, it’s two of them and, to be fair, neither uses the phrase ‘flying car’ while trying to do what amounts to the same thing: provide personal transport, only in different locations.
Project one is the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is “safe, tested and legal to operate in uncongested areas under the Ultralight category of FAA regulations”.
The finished Kitty Hawk design will apparently look different from the prototype doing the rounds, which, given that it looks like a rodeo bull on floats surrounded by eight terrifying rotor blades, is probably a good idea.
It’s designed to be used over lakes and rivers where nobody is around, in short.
Still, the company says: “When everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them.” That might be true, but the Flyer’s ‘world’ will be over lakes and rivers that are pretty much deserted, which isn’t that limitless, and the ‘opportunity’ will be to have what looks like quite good fun but not really go anywhere.
Idea number two comes from every cab driver’s favourite company, Uber, which wants to introduce “on-demand urban air transportation” in a few years. Which you can kinda get now, if you own a helicopter.
Uber has grander ambitions than Kitty Hawk and has partnered with aerospace firms to investigate and develop new vertical take-off and landing vehicles. It foresees a future where you can “push a button and get a high-speed flight in and around cities”, a sentence in itself that terrifies me three times. ‘Push a button’ suggests it’ll come to you, ‘high-speed’ suggests it’s fast, and ‘in and around cities’ suggests you and I might be near it while it’s happening.