Dude, where’s my flying car?

On one of the discussion groups I frequent, we’re occasionally visited by gentlemen with interesting agendas wanting us to invest time or money in interesting projects.

One such visitor insisted that he’d built a human powered vehicle out of old bike parts a couple of years ago that he’d got up to 127km/hr (conveniently there are no witnesses and the machine is not available for examination); subsequently he has a proposal for a commuter vehicle that would allow folks to pedal their vehicles for up to 20 minutes at 100km/hr.  He just needs our help and money.   And to seal our impression of his credibility, he talks blithely of the marvels of the over-unity motor.   No perpetual motion nut is getting any of my money or time.

In the same week, we were visited by a proponent of the perennial Flying Car.  He’s been pushing this agenda for a long time, mainly with complaints about the way that governments and the entrenched car industry have used legal impediments to halt or otherwise bury the concept to preserve the status quo.   According to this chap, if he could just get the concept accepted, (and get a bit of help and money) his flying cars could replace/destroy the current automobile industry.   For this guy, our discussion group is fresh meat – he’s bombarding us with flying car related information in the guise of some relationship to human powered vehicles.  (Sadly we’re too polite to tell him where to get off…)

This (the “flying car”) is one of those concepts, IMHO, where the question is not whether it can be done (though that’s debatable), but whether it should.

I suggested to the advocate that I’d be interested to read his prospectus; that I’d expect to see some discussion of how the concept would be ecologicallyand socially responsible; how it could be made safe, how much additional infrastructure would be required, whether there would be any saving of investment in existing land transport infrastructure, how it stack up against putting resources into better mass transit.. and lots more.  Interestingly he has not provided any such thing, though he seems convinced that if I came out to his workshop and listened to his sales pitch I’d be a convert.  Hmmm…. just like all the other folks (not) clamouring to invest in his technology?

I’d hazard a guess that if any one thing kills the concept of the flying car, it’s that no insurance company would touch one.  And much as I think the insurance industry has a lot to answer for, in this case I wouldn’t blame them.


1 Response to “Dude, where’s my flying car?”

  1. 1 shylove September 25, 2009 at 5:36 am

    That perfect article. THANKS! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contests. Keep up the good work.

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