I’ve been eating Spinach and doing yoga exercises in the hope of living long enough to see a self-driving car. But yesterday, I woke up to learn my aspirations are way behind the curve. More likely, I’ll see flying cars before self-driving ones. Believe it or not, the technical problems in the development of flying cars are simpler than for those that remain on the ground. (Propeller Heads,” by Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 13-16, 2016, pgs. 56-61.) Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, is so certain about the future for flying cars, he’s created two companies dedicated to the purpose: Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk,. He hopes competition between the two will bring about results sooner.
Page will have to work fast as other companies have already tossed their hats on the design table. Some have plans for flying cars that look like mini flying saucers. Other models have aerodynamic wings and still others favor propellers that allow the vehicle to take off vertically. One project has come so far in its development, it’s expected to take flight later this year. (Ibid, pg. 58.)
None of this innovation comes at taxpayer’s expense. Technology has been good to innovators and as a result, many multibillionaires exist who can afford to dream. Says one entrepreneur, his aspiration for a flying car came from the sci-fi classics he read as a child. Now he’s pursuing his fantasies. As I wrote in an earlier blog, (3/18/16) I’m not comfortable that moguls are shaping the world according to their whims. But all that money in the government’s hands would likely produce more weaponry or bridges that go to nowhere, so I’m of two minds on the subject. Certainly, the multibillionaires are striving for dazzling futures with outcomes that are human friendly. But the government won’t stand idly by, I am certain. It will do what it knows best and spin out regulations to screw up these fantasies. I’m not clairvoyant, but to know the past is to foresee the future.
As a consumer, I’m holding out for the self-driving car. I’ve never liked looking down and seeing nothing but air between me and the distant ground. I’m an analogue gal in a digital age.