A company called SkyDrive is making progress towards flying cars for civilians! This week, the company said that the SD-03 model completed the first human-crewed test flight with a flight time of four minutes. The vehicle flew only 10 feet from the ground.
The SD-03 seats one person and has eight motors and two propellers. SkyDrive has been testing prototypes for the last five years, but this one, they say, is the lightest and most compact so far.
Analysts expect this mode of transportation to be standard by 2040. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has thrown the towel in on this idea; instead, he’s investing in underground transportation through a city-wide tunnel system. He famously said that the stakes were too high for flying vehicles because no one wants to be decapitated by a hubcap come loose.
Good point. Terrifying point.
Yet SkyDrive and other companies persist with their Jetson-inspired future, which means regulators will have to develop some safety and pollution measures. The vehicles cannot deliver a jet plane’s noise pollution to suburban areas, and they have to carry more than just one person. And then there is the matter of civilian licensing. Would you trust the worst driver in your neighborhood to FLY? I bet that these won’t become ubiquitous until autopilot is a bit more seamless.