david

David Dunn-Rankin

Did you dream of owning a flying car when you were young? I know I did. I’m not alone. The fantasy of flying direct to your destination, forever avoiding traffic jams, has been around for a long time. 

In 1940, automaker visionary Henry Ford said, “Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile but it is true.” Sorry Henry, it has been 80 years, but still no flying cars.

As a kid, watching The Jetsons cartoon show in the early 1960s, I was fascinated by George Jetson’s flying car. It has been 60 years since The Jetsons TV show, but still no flying cars.

In 1974, in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, Francisco Scaramanga escaped James Bond in a flying AMC Matador. It has been almost 50 years since that movie, but still no flying cars. Wait, I can’t be that old. 

Flying cars are a tease. Maybe Henry Ford was wrong.

Flying cars are coming – maybe before this decade is out.

The Wall Street investment firm Morgan Stanley researched the growing investment in autonomous flying aircraft, including aircraft that can drive once they land. Morgan Stanley suggests the autonomous flying aircraft industry is a $1.5 trillion market in 20 years. That’s bigger than the current revenue of Amazon, Apple, Google and Walmart – combined.

Over 100 companies are chasing the dream. Over a billion dollars has already been invested by startups like Lilium and big names such as Airbus, Boeing and Bell Helicopters. The technology has finally caught up to Henry Ford’s dream from 1940. 

Many of these flying cars are self-piloting. Always wanted to own a plane and fly, but never had the time to get your pilot’s license? Your chance to fly a plane without a pilot’s license is coming.

Toyota-backed SkyDrive has a flying car they expect to have out in 2023. Uber believes they will have an autonomous vertical takeoff and landing taxi by 2023. 

Perhaps you are still skeptical. Wait until the first “flying car hub” is built at a major U.S. city. Then you will believe the future is here.

Did you know the first flying-car hub in the U.S. is being built right now, just around the corner from you – in Orlando? No, no it’s no part of Walt Disney World. Good guess, though.

The city of Orlando has approved plans to build this first of a kind flying car hub in the Lake Nona area near the Orlando International Airport. The flying-car airport is scheduled for completion in 2025. 

The tenant is Lilium, a German-based company whose fully electric vertical takeoff and landing plane can reach 185 miles per hour in the air. The cockpit and passenger area looks oddly like George Jetson’s car. 

Most flying car technology is basically based on drone technology, but built large enough to carry humans. Today’s drone technology works. Amazon has already received FAA approval to test autonomous delivery drones. The drone delivery company Zipline delivers time-sensitive medicines via autonomous drones in Africa.

If your life was in danger, wouldn’t you want a flying ambulance which could fly at three times the speed of a land-based ambulance, skip all the traffic, fly in a straight line to pick you up and return you in a straight line to the hospital?

Some commentators believe America’s best days are behind us. Don’t believe them. In this new year, remember, our best days are still ahead. You may smile, but it is true. 

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