Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Flying Car Concepts From Just The Last Decade

Image for article titled Where Are They Now: Flying Car Concepts From Just The Last Decade

Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

Another “flying car” concept is making its rounds on the internet. This time it’s another electric Vertical Takeoff And Landing Airplane made by a UK company called Bellweather Industries. Called the Antelope, it’s an eVTOL with “supercar sex appeal,” according to Design Bloom. The prototype flew at a few trade shows and events last year, but photos published by Design Bloom show a vehicle not large enough to even house a human being. The company told Bloom:

We believe that people commuting in the sky is inevitable within the next 10 years. therefore, we create a volar for anyone to fly anytime and anywhere to any point. the ultimate goal of bellwether industries is to build a brand new 3-dimensional lifestyle and to lead the world toward a more comprehensive urban mobility.’

Available in the next ten years, you say? Flying car concepts are always kicked down the road a few years, but that specific number piqued my interest for some reason. I decided to take a scroll through the Jalopnik archives for the last, oh, ten years or so, and count up how many flying car concepts have come and find out where they all went. I have complied them for you here. Keep in mind, these are just the “flying cars” we decided to cover for whatever reason. There have been many, many more that have popped up in that time with similar promises and gimmicks, but we turned down covering because we are tired of the grift. If anything, flying car hype is speeding up rather than slowing down. This is likely due to nothing making sense anymore.

Along with personal jet packs and food in pill form, they are the one Jetson’s technology that will really say we’ve “made it” as a civilization. They’re the dream of the elite who could afford such luxurious transportation and can’t wait to skip above traffic to avoid accidentally making eye contact with a poor if possible. If only we could get the dang things to work.

Most of these aren’t even flying cars per se, they just claim the name with nothing to really back it up. In fact, we are still of the firm belief that flying cars are next to impossible to implement. Our own Jason Torchinsky (who starts this list so hopeful about the prospect of flying cars) hit the nail on the head way, way back in 2014 when he was already jaded by the entire concept:

Still, they all fail to realize that the problem isn’t the engineering — the problem has been solved, more or less, dozens of times — the problem is nobody wants the damn things. Really. Each of these companies should have looked back at the decades and decades of failures here and realized that the problem isn’t the plane — it’s the pilots. Because that’s what you have to be, a pilot, to drive one of these. And how many pilots do you know? And how many of them are screaming for these?

Just think for a moment and try to imagine the ideal customer for a flying car. It’d have to be someone with an actual pilot’s license but no plane. Someone who actually needed both a car and a plane, and had no means to switch easily from one to the other.

Truer words, dear Torch. If I missed any, feel free to add in the comments!


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