The reality is that self-driving cars are going to be all over American roads sooner than later. All you have to do is look at the rising number of Tesla’s that you see everyday to know that that’s true. Even though automated vehicles are not as pervasive as they will be, some companies are already beginning to wonder what will come next. Boeing has an answer.
Boeing Co. recently announced that their flying car prototype was able to successfully hover during its inaugural flight test. Boeing is all in on bringing flying cars to market with investment fueled by technological advances and frustration with growing traffic congestion across the country.
Boeing’s prototype is part helicopter, part drone and part fixed-wing plan. All told it’s about 30 ft long. The first test saw the vehicle briefly hover, but that’s it. Boeing has announced that future tests will be working on forward flight.
Flying cars will solve many of our current traffic problems, but introduce a whole host of issues we haven’t had to deal with yet. That’s why Boeing is already working with startup SparkCognition Inc and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to develop a traffic-management system for three-dimensional highways, as well as the regulatory framework that will these vehicles to operate around existing buildings.
“The future of mobility – moving goods, moving cargo – moving people – that future is happening now and it’s going to accelerate over the next five years and ramp up even more beyond that,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s president, chairman and CEO, told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Will Boeing be the first to market? Maybe, but plenty of other companies are working on their own flying cars. AirBus looks to be their top competitor now, but all of these vehicles are still years from hitting the market. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.