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flying car in development

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You guys wouldn't believe this, but there is one man out there (an aeronautical engineer) named Paul Moller who, for the past 40 years, has invested $200 million of his own money in developing a flying car--all by himself. His development of the so-called "Skycar" has actually lead to several spin-off inovations.

Many engineers have ridiculed him and called his project impractical if not impossible--the technological innovations needed to overcome the problems are so enourmous that most have unfortunately given up. Many automakers and aircraft makers are refusing to invest because they believe that his efforts--although heroirc--are futile. (not to mention the hell those regulatory agencies will put him through)

And yet, he goes on!

He doesn't let the daunting task intimidate him; for the past 40 years he has slowly gained support and many fans...and now his project is succeeding (slowly, but nevertheless progressing). The engines he has built for the Skycar is lighter, smaller and more powerful than any other engine in existence for their size. And he is about test the first prototype of the Skycar this year!

"What keeps me going is that I know it's doable," he says. "I'm in it for the thrill of making it work."

This true story reminds me so much of Roark's speech about the creator working alone, following his own vision, driven by the love of his own work.

This is the link to his site about the Skycar:http://www.moller.com/

And this is the link to a USA Today article on Moller and his vision: http://www.usatoday.com/money/2004-03-30-skycar_x.htm

If only he had more investors and didn't have all those regulatory agencies to impede him! :wacko:

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although heroic--are futile

Sadly, they are futile precisely because of the regulatory agencies. If this country suddenly got rid of government interventionism, I bet we’d have flying cars within 5 years rather than 40. Note that Moller had to build a special lake and suspend the car from cranes just to get the (mandatory, I believe) insurance to test his car.

Aside from this, the current technology used in the car is far from feasible, and I am not convinced that flying cars will be economically feasible for daily, casual travel for many, many years – short of a revolutionary new lifting/control technology.

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Nevertheless, it is possible to develope such a technology--provided there is enough funding and enough freedom to do so. :wacko: It might take half a century or more before it becomes feasible, safe, and affordable by the majority--but to me, what matters right now is that he (Moller) and a few other aeronautical engineers like him are actually doing this right now. This is very much a hopeful and inspiring sign (especially in the context of the present media and academia).

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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I've been following Moller's progress since the mid 80's when his flying car design was featured in Popular Science magazine. I applaud the man for his determination & vision.

But I'm saddened to say that in the post 9-11 world, the Leviathan state will probably not approve his invention. Their irrational justifications will likely be fear of terrorist flying into buildings, dropping bombs, and the average citizen engaging in drunken flying.

And then the pilots' union will likely chime in with their objections & bribe their congressman to draft a bill to outlaw flying cars.

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  • 8 months later...

People could be granted rights of way in the air the same way they are allowed fishing rights on the ocean. Then they regulate who can go where and when in their zone. Violators and trespassers are tracked and prosecuted wherever they land. Maybe air police could be invited to buffet the planes with turbulence, low frequency sound, or lasers so that they would be persuaded to land immediately. Violators of smaller rules, like "no loitering" or speed limits could be threatened with fines and ultimately by being banned from the right of way.

Citizens don't own the air but they own the right to move through it. Your local neighborhood aircarport could own a column or cone of air space sufficient for you to take off from it. Then you could choose which layer of airspace is the right altitude, congestion, level of safety, and price to your liking. All of it would presumably be worked out by computer on the ground ahead of time. Part of the value of the price you are paying is for the maintenance of a safe and well controlled "onramp" and "highway."

If things get too congested you would choose a different layer of airspace. If they all become congested, there would be a market for cheaper and more powerful engines so more people could take advantage of higher zones. If they became congested as well, bullet trains might become more popular. Etc, Etc.

Also, the reckless could choose to risk it and fly through airspace that is for some unforseeable reason unregulated... but where would it be difficult to collect money for profit? If there is congestion, then there will be profit. Air rights of way don't have to be paved! With communications as they are, a larger private airtraffic controller could pick up any particular air right of way over a large area. Especially in the unlikely event it has congestion problems but not enough profit to justify a smaller local controller.

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Most likely, hundreds of layers of "virtual, invisible highways" will guide flying cars with tracking systems on board communicating with other cars. You would probably pay for the tracking service that drives you through the air (maybe only one payment when you buy your car). I doubt congestion will be possible in many places due to the fact that roads would be stackable to the sky. Imagine the traffic a highway can carry now, then add 1000 layers to it. Not to mention, flying is faster.

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You guys wouldn't believe this, but there is one man out there (an aeronautical engineer) named Paul Moller who, for the past 40 years, has invested $200 million of his own money in developing a flying car--all by himself. His development of the so-called "Skycar" has actually lead to several spin-off inovations.

I too have been following this for about twenty years. I first heard of this from an advertisement that appeared in Scientific American. In the same issue was another one called Aurora(?). This one was being constructed by a company in the Silicon Valley area. I called a friend there and he drove out to take a look at a scaled down proto-type they were testing. I guess that company went out of business.

Maybe 15 years ago, GM had a commercial on television for a few days where they featured a flying car much like the Moller machine.

I have had a picture of the Moller vehicle with the crew standing in front of it on my wall for over a year now. I really wish these would go into production!

"...His boy, Elroy...Jane, his wife...(piano interlude)..."

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  • 4 months later...
the current technology used in the car is far from feasible, and I am not convinced that flying cars will be economically feasible for daily, casual travel for many, many years – short of a revolutionary new lifting/control technology.

i really agree in this situation... in addition, the air traffic would be much of the concern... i think it is more dangerous to ride your car above the ground cause when an accident happens, you may not know where it falls.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Imagine the traffic a highway can carry now, then add 1000 layers to it. Not to mention, flying is faster.

It may not be very convenient for locals when they travel to work, to climb to the thousandth layer, then go back down a few seconds later. This is why in larger cities (and there's no knowing how big the cities will grow after such a car is available), there would still be traffic congestions. When travelling short distances, it simply wouldn't pay off to climb too high, even with the congestion.

Still, I think we are all a bit too much two dimensional here. We're used to travelling on the ground, and we fail to see the freedom that the third dimension offers. I'm thinking that vehicle design will change a lot, and that when there's a lot of Skycars in operation, it will lead to completely different rules (that is, unless this traffic is still controlled by the boring government men).

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  • 4 years later...

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