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Flying cars, when will they come?





nisibdv
I, as a lot of more people, are waiting the happy day whe cars can fly. I have imagined this from my childhood, but it seems to be too far from our times yet.

Do you think of that making true soon. If yes, how will it be implemented?
mathiaus
They already exist. It's just a matter of making them on a commercial scale. Even then though, I would imagine that the whole driving laws would need to be sorted through to include new driving tests, new height restrictions etc.
Another thing to be sorted would be roads. Leave the and force users to use them or allow people to roam anywhere? There is a lot to be thought about!

EDIT: Forgot the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6970031.stm
web_harman
hey man you must be kidding about flying cars that they already exist...... arent u confusing it with the airplanes.. or i must say mini airplanes..
GSIS
Experimental flying cars have been around since the 1940s. Very few survive intact. Laughing

The problems with the technology are being overcome. I don't think it'll be long - perhaps just a few years - before tests are complete and a true 'flying car' is publicly launched.



From http://www.moller.com/faq.htm:

Quote:
4. M400 Skycar

4.1. When will the M400 be available?

Limited numbers are expected to be available within the next three years. These will be used for marketing demonstrators, special sales, and military applications. A FAA certified model is more than four years away. We already have over 100 reservations for the FAA certified models. The timing of the models available to the public will depend on the speed of the government in certifying the vehicle as airworthy. Moller has little or no control in this process.


The real problems are going to be with licensing and legislation. There's a very good reason that, in most countries, powered aircraft are only allowed to take off and land at designated airfields. Most drivers can barely manage to think in two dimensions. Try giving them a third! Shocked
Hogwarts
They already have them, they're called aeroplanes.

As you might say, an aeroplane is not really a car. But it's just as close to a car as a flying car, really, except that it's not for personal use. Honestly, you have to draw the line somewhere.

As defined by the Collins Australian Pocket dictionary; a car is:
Quote:
Any vehicle on wheels


Which just about proves my point.

Perhaps people should stop looking for "Flying cars" and start looking for "Personal, residential use aircrafts".

Obviously, the term has been used since as the previous user stated, the 40's, when people strapped wings to their cars and drove off cliffs.

Anyhow, enough criticising your English; I believe that PRUAs (Personal, residential use aircrafts) will eventually be created. However it'll wreak havoc on our environment, kill countless bird species and cause issues where people in busy areas have thousands of cars go over their house on a daily basis.

To be honest, I hope that flying cars are never invented - or at least, not in my lifetime.
nisibdv
For those who say that airplanes are already flying cars: common sense says us what is a flying car and what is not:
First, the flying car should not have wings.
Second, the flying car should be able to fly at very low altitudes.
Third, it should be small and able to carry at least 4 people on it.
FourthIt should have aprosimately the shape of a car.

Last and more important: The principle of functioning should be very different from a plane's. Planes base its functioning in aerodynamics, they are not stable unless they move fast. A flying car should not depend so heavily in this dynamic interaction with air. In this sense, I would say that a helicopter is much closer to a flying car than a plane.
Hogwarts
nisibdv wrote:
For those who say that airplanes are already flying cars: common sense says us what is a flying car and what is not:
First, the flying car should not have wings.
Second, the flying car should be able to fly at very low altitudes.
Third, it should be small and able to carry at least 4 people on it.
FourthIt should have aprosimately the shape of a car.

Last and more important: The principle of functioning should be very different from a plane's. Planes base its functioning in aerodynamics, they are not stable unless they move fast. A flying car should not depend so heavily in this dynamic interaction with air. In this sense, I would say that a helicopter is much closer to a flying car than a plane.

Point being?

My point is that what they are currently creating are not flying cars. They are merely personal residential use aircrafts - Not cars. Period.

Besides, the plane is an example. Yes, a helicopter might have been a more appropriate example. However, as aeroplanes came first, I believe they are more suited be my example.

Anyhow, it surely is not common sense- rather, it is a persons imagination creating what they believe a flying car is.

Also, flying PRuA's at low altitudes would be a terrible thing because of the noise caused by them and an extremely destructive thing because of the air being propelled to the ground. Considering the amount of pollution we're currently creating right now with our cars, what do you think would happen when everybodys car 'flies'? I mean, the 'car' would have to have some pretty fast engines to power the propellors for the air - or would require a large amount of fuel to jet-propel it - and both of those would cause large amounts of greenhouse gasses (Unless you use hydrogen, and you still need to make the liquid hydrogen in the first place).

Rolling Eyes
scrub
I don't think flying cars will ever become a reality. Think of the energy required to keep a car floating above the ground by constantly fighting gravity, instead of letting gravity have its pull and only having to overcome the forces of friction. (Of course, energy will have to be spent to overcome air resistance whether on the ground or floating above the ground.)

I can't see how flying cars could be much more efficient than airplanes, if at all. The extreme energy cost here will limit flying cars to imagination forever...we have probably already entered the world of peak oil, with less and less conventional oil available to us each year, and soon less and less energy period available to us each year. We no longer enjoy seemingly unlimited energy to use however our imaginations dictate; now definite limits will pin us to practical energy use and energy efficiency, thus pinning us to the ground.

Sorry to burst any bubbles which may have been holding up your flying cars,
Norris
tamilparks
very nice to hear about the flying cars
dwinton
Could someone explain to me why it would be more environmentally and economically sound to have to lift the whole vehicle and passengers off of the ground? I mean everyone seems so worried about using too much energy and at the same time we are talking about stuff like that. I think there is a very easy low energy way to propel the cars but it requires the ground be frozen or a very powerful magnet.
nisibdv
scrub said:
Quote:
Think of the energy required to keep a car floating above the ground by constantly fighting gravity, instead of letting gravity have its pull and only having to overcome the forces of friction.


Note that physicaly speaking there is no cost of energy in having a car at a fixed altitude over the earth. That's why a flying car should function using very different principles from common aerodynamic machines. To have a fan continually pulling up a car or a turbine doing the same thing dissipates a lot of energy and is unacceptably noisy for a populated city. There is not any single principle in physics that prevents you from having a car flying with very little (if any) cost in energy.
Gagnar The Unruly
If we had a way of providing force without doing any extra work, what you're saying is true. But I can't think of any system in which that is possible, other than putting a brick under the hovering car.
GSIS
How much does it cost to keep a small helicopter hovering at 10 feet above ground level? A lot.

How noisy is a small helicopter hovering at 10 feet above ground level? Very.

The same will apply to fan or turbine powered flying cars. This is why flying cars will be toys for the very rich when they first go into limited production.

Eventually, though, we might crack the secrets of cheap anti-gravity. It might take 25 to 50 years or so, though. If this doesn't involve dangerous technology (nuclear power or similar) this will be when flying cars become suitable for mass production and general use. By then we'll also have guidance and collision avoidance systems that can be trusted sufficiently to replace the driver/pilot.
Coclus
I don't think it ll come that fast: Cars will be improved, and flying will be even cheaper (or maybe not with rising oil prices) but flying cars?
ptolomeo
That is principally a technology problem. As long as antigravity is not discovered, we wont have any flying cars. Although one could think of a system that works like the magnetic levitation trains, that already exist, for small altitudes, and a propeler system that could be more noisy without the risk of causing disturbances in the city for high altitudes. That could be a temporary solution for a better transport solution.
heartbeat
we should try to research alternate antigravity or true anti gravity systems
energy fields and stuff like that
undergroundking_tourus
i think it is possible ... and as writen things on net the fuel consuming will be 2 times of a normal car...but 3 rd war is as near as flying cars... and 4 th will be with swords...
azbuky
Hi!

As some of you said, I dreamed this since I was a child, too. But now, as an adult, I don't think that this is possible, anymore. I mean, it can be done, but I don't know how convenient those cars will be. I mean, how will it be? Like an airplane?
GSIS
At present aircraft and cars are very different vehicles - obviously.

What is not so obvious is that they've both evolved to meet very specific requirements - and very different and specific sets of rules and regulations.

Cars are designed to travel at high speed on suitably engineered surfaces (roads), and aircraft are designed to travel at high speed (usually) in the air. Aircraft on the ground, especially when taxiing, are very slow and cumbersome. This is the big technical problem that has plagued 'flying car' designers and prevented them from coming up with a workable model.

Light aircraft have been available for many years, of course, but they're only allowed to take off and land, in most countries, at designated airfields or private runways. This means that anyone using a light aircraft must have ground transport available to them to get to wherever they're going from the airfield, then return to the airfield to get back to the aircraft. The definition of a 'flying car' is usually taken to mean a vehicle that can fulfil both of those transport roles.

Suitable engines are now getting much more efficient and also much smaller. In addition, the electronics capable of keeping 'flying cars' safe is finally arriving.

What I think we'll see in the future is a two-stage introduction.

The first will be a vehicle that can be driven to and from a designated airfield. It'll probably be VSTOL (Very Short Take Off and Landing). Takeoff and landing anywhere other than designated airfields will not be permitted, and it will continue to be necessary to file flight plans as pilots of conventional aircraft must do now. The same licensing and flight rules will apply as for conventional aircraft. This type of flying car will be very expensive to buy and operate.

Eventually technology will improve and become 'mass market'. Flight will be managed entirely by computer systems and no 'licence' as such will be required. Traffic management systems will know where every vehicle is (within a metre or so) at all times. Collision avoidance systems will handle all take-off and landing and it will, therefore, become possible to take off or land anywhere except within built up areas, where noise would be a serious nuisance. Public air routes will be established which the traffic management systems will use. Only the police and other emergency services will be allowed to fly outside these routes.

Hopefully, improvements in technology will also include energy efficiency. If 'flying cars' are not energy efficient (meaning less destructive than current mass-market personal transport) they cannot be permitted to exist.
powers1983
Why do people think that a 'flying car' is something that would ever have a commercial use?

In order to use these things will require exactly the same licenses etc. as required now to fly a light aircraft or a small helicopter. It will not be until the air traffic control systems and flight control systems become totally automated before there is even the slightest chance of a mass market appeal. What society could tolerate vehicles travelling at 100mph+ at 100metres or higher being controlled by that boy racer down the road? A car is unlikely to take out a building but a flying car could demolish a house if it crashed.

And if safeguards are put in such as max speed and altitude, then whats the point on having them? If they can only go 70mph at 2metres high then you may as well get a normal car.

Don't get me wrong - as an aerospace engineering student the concept sounds great, but in practice I don't think this will ever take off until people are not at the controls - the potential for disaster is too high for anyone other than highly trained crew to be left at the wheel.

I think a more likely scenario is more magrail type systems where computer controlled vehicles are propelled through sealed tubes at high speeds (in straight lines so the occupants aren't squashed) that will start operating between cities.

Or the replacing of existing rail networks with systems such as above that can operate at much higher speeds (because no bends and nothing able to enter the tube) and if set along commuter routes then would cut the number of people using the roads to commute to work.

David.
Dark_Shadow
sorry but i must agree! flying cars does exist!
but.... the problem is how can we keep something in our hands that probably will lead us to dead?
the biggest they are... the hardest they fall!
for me... is fine to move on wheels =)
nisibdv
Contrary to what some of you think, I am certain that flaying cars will be much safer than conventional cars. The probability of colliding in a quasi one dimensional (highway) space is much grater than the probability of colliding in a full three dimensional space. Take the example of airplanes. how often do you hear of planes colliding? almost never. Plane collisions happen usually in those military expositions on combat technics, where planes on porpouse fly very close together.
powers1983
Airplanes never collide for a variety of reasons none of which are relevant:

1) There are MUCH fewer airplanes than cars.

2) The pilots have extensive experience and have undergone long (and expensive) training to get to an advanced level of proficiency (to get a full license to fly a passenger aircraft takes many thousands of hours and about 40k ish) compared to the 20 lessons to get a car license.

3) Airplanes fly in designated corridors (like a motorway) seperated by altitude and distance and carefully monitored by a manned Air Traffic Controller

etc, etc.

I say again that until the technology is available to totally take the human out of the equation (with multiple failsafes) and a boy racedr cannot override the controls to get an adrenaline rush, then flying cars will be the preserve of the very rich (who already have helicopters btw).

Yes the probability of collision is lower in theory, but when you increase the speeds then the probability starts to increase again.

David.
xbcd
one thing i have seen was to put virtual roads in the air using computers so cars would follow each other with immediate ability to add lanes if traffic slows down. You no longer have intersections but merge lanes for every change in direction.

The human will almost always be in the equation but i bet auto pilot will take over to a large degree. People will enter a destination and be there for emergency maneuvers.
Kirara
The plains are an example of fliying cars
nisibdv
No Kirara, planes are not an example of flying cars, why dont you read the previous posts before posting?
xbcd
The main difference between the planes and flying cars is that when a cars stalls if coast to a stop, these "flying cars" don't coast to a stop they fall like bricks. (unlike conventional airplanes that glide for large distance)
hlavco
I don't think they'll ever have flying cars as a mainstream thing. You crash, you die, pretty much. I think hovering cars is more realistic, like those trains they have in Japan or wherever.

The government installed a huge fan in the power plant my dad works at, that used the same magnet technology as those trains. When you turned the fan on, it would hover and be more power-efficient somehow. Unfortunately something messed up and the thing fell and chopped up most of the floor. Confused
ptolomeo
Yes, I think hovering cars could be a first approach to flying cars. The velocity in that kind of cars would be strongly incremented in comparison with wheel cars and we would gain experience on light structural materials for the cars. And maybe hovering will be a complement to the flying ability. For example, to enter a parking zone you would need a hovering road to enter, optherwise it would be extremely dengerous.

So, effectibvvely I think that hovering is a direct and necesary previous step to flying cars.
Bikerman
ptolomeo wrote:
Yes, I think hovering cars could be a first approach to flying cars. The velocity in that kind of cars would be strongly incremented in comparison with wheel cars and we would gain experience on light structural materials for the cars. And maybe hovering will be a complement to the flying ability. For example, to enter a parking zone you would need a hovering road to enter, optherwise it would be extremely dengerous.

So, effectibvvely I think that hovering is a direct and necesary previous step to flying cars.


Not likely.
a) There would be no increase in velocity - conventional cars can already far outstrip speed limits. The limits on current speeds are not technical.
b) Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) technology would require existing roads to be completely re-engineered. A mag-lev car could only function with the correct surface below it which would make it completely impractical until the entire road network was completely rebuilt.
jackylam
flying cars dont have to go at high altitude, cant we make the car silent?
also, when you ask an average person a flying car, the first thing which comes into their head is not an aeroplane
asnani04
Flying cars might come soon. The technologies are advancing so quickly that you never know, you might tomorrow in the newspapers that cars were seen flying! I too hope they come soon, and we'll have a great time toying around with them (dealing with air traffic)! Very Happy
ocalhoun
Flying cars have been around since the 70's... they just have disadvantages. They don't fly as well as a plane, and they don't drive as well as a car... and they're more expensive than both put together.


Alternately, you could say they've been around since the late 50's... they're commonly called 'helicopters'.
Dennise
Likely never.

You would get terrible flying AND surface vehicle contraptions as ocalhoun has stated.

ocalhoun wrote:
Flying cars have been around since the 70's... they just have disadvantages. They don't fly as well as a plane, and they don't drive as well as a car... and they're more expensive than both put together.

Alternately, you could say they've been around since the late 50's... they're commonly called 'helicopters'.


Think about it. Flight requires efficient lifting surfaces, what do you do with these in car mode? And car mode requires suspension, wheels, steering mechanism, brakes etc. ..... all = weight, which reduces lift in flight mode. A boat-car hybrid has similar disadvantages.
kelseymh
Dennise wrote:
Likely never.

You would get terrible flying AND surface vehicle contraptions as ocalhoun has stated.


Check out the following:

Molnari Gyrocycle
Terrafugia Transition
Moller Skycar

The flight performance isn't "terrible," but it is not high-performance, either.
Dennise
My negative comments were directed at car-plane mass production.

Some interesting demos there, but I see no real mass production future anytime soon, perhaps only limited aviation sport enthusiasts. There are additional practical hurdles:

    limited pilot, passenger, crew and baggage capacity in flight mode (as a pilot myself, I can tell you exceeding flight weight limits is very dangerous).

    need for important pilot licensing would reduce mass demand.

    insurance?

    cost ... only the wealthy and Hollywood film productions could afford car-planes.

    air congestion - can you imagine a sky full of car-planes in densely populated areas or during rush hour? This would place big restrictions on where they could be operated in flight mode.


I still say it will be a very very long time before car-planes are ready for 'prime time'. There are just too many physics and practical problems to overcome.
kelseymh
Dennise wrote:
My negative comments were directed at car-plane mass production.


Ah, that wasn't clear. It sounded like you were claiming non-existence (or at best, "design concepts" only).

Your point, taken in terms of mass production, is a good one, and probably mostly accurate.

Quote:
limited pilot, passenger, crew and baggage capacity in flight mode (as a pilot myself, I can tell you exceeding flight weight limits is very dangerous).


Yup. Although the flying vehicle designs which are actually demonstrated (such as the ones I cited) all seem to have extremely limited cargo space. That is likely to ensure that flight weight cannot be approached or exceeded. At the same time, that limits the market for these things as actual vehicles -- commuter cars, sure, but not for travel or vacation.

Quote:
need for important pilot licensing would reduce mass demand.


That's been the biggest hurdle so far. It also makes the gyrocycle a very interesting possibility, since ultralights require minimal licensing.

Quote:
only the wealthy and Hollywood film productions could afford car-planes.


You'd be surprised. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. On my commutes, I generally see far too many Mercedes, Lexi, and even Tesla roadsters (I've caught at least three different ones so far). Those all run around $100k, which is the claimed cost of the Moller Skycar.

I think annual sales in the few thousand range would not be impossible, which corresponds to a few hundred million dollars of revenue.

Quote:
I still say it will be a very very long time before car-planes are ready for 'prime time'. There are just too many physics and practical problems to overcome.


Yup.
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