Friday, January 02, 2004

"Where's my flying car?"

Well, Ron, don't hold your breath:
Los Angeles Times | Can We Ever Commute as Jetsons Did?
To accommodate millions of vehicles zipping through the sky at high speeds, the nation's air traffic control system would need to be revamped, and largely automated. The craft themselves would need to be virtually auto-piloted — enter a destination, and off you go. No pilot's license necessary.

Some, like [Bob Van der Linden, curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum], don't see it happening.

"It's possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath. These things have been said before," the aviation historian said. "Can you imagine the average driver on an L.A. freeway in an airplane overhead? What a frightening experience that would be."

Hm. Do we need a national Ground Traffic Control System? Probably not: We've got one. It's called "roads". And that's an interesting blithe assumption that it's possible, or desirable, to have a thousand Personal Aircraft in the sky driving themselves, yet they haven't been able to create a reliable self-guided ground vehicle.

Even discounting the fact that there are a lot more obstacles on the ground than there are a thousand feet up, would you trust Maps On Us to get you where you're going unsupervised?

Perhaps the airline industry depends on (1) relatively few entry/exit points to the system (how many airports vs how many on-ramps?) and (2) darn near nothing to hit up there once you get away from the ground.

I'm telling you?

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