Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flying Cars

Massachusetts-based Terrafugia will test its flying car the Transition in February (see an animation below). As its name implies, the Transition has retractable wings and converts from a car to a plane. It could therefore be driven to an airport and piloted away. This model seems the most practical at the moment as true widespread car flight will require automation and considerable infrastructure. See Paul Moller's TED talk on his Skycar, a vertical takeoff flying machine.

Flying cars are probably the foremost (and cartoon) symbol of the future. But flying cars are not amenable to Moore's law as other technologies are. I don't think we'll be off the highways anytime soon. Futurist Ray Kurzweil addresses this and many other issues in this strange, fawning interview with Glenn Beck. Kurzweil makes provocative claims throughout the interview. The whole thing is really pretty bizarre as I imagine are most Glenn Beck interviews.