Off to a flying start

This artist rendering provided by Airbus shows a vehicle in its flying-car project, Vahana. Airbus via AP Photo
This artist rendering provided by Airbus shows a vehicle in its flying-car project, Vahana. Airbus via AP Photo

Flying cars have long been a staple of science fiction, perhaps most famously in the oft-repeated 1960s cartoon series The Jetsons. But how close are they to being delivered in real life? Well, several companies including European aircraft maker Airbus are competing to be the first to develop vehicles with wings that take off and land vertically – and, if truth be told, look more like helicopters than cars.

These vehicles could revolutionise urban travel for millions of people around the world. Given their small size and relatively simple technology, they will probably be easy to operate and manoeuvre. However, they would require attentive drivers who can handle working with the added dimension of height. Considering some of the driving we witness in our cities every day, are we going to feel safe in, around and with these vehicles above us?

Then there is noise pollution. With people already complaining about drones buzzing their buildings, how will we cope with cars flying past at full throttle with their sound systems blaring?

Published: February 1, 2017 04:00 AM

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