While the tech and automotive worlds have been racing to build self-driving cars, there’s another potential revolution going on in the personal transportation industry: flying cars.
Google co-founder Larry Page for instance, has backed two related companies working on the idea, Kitty Hawk (which is thought to be working on autonomous vehicles) and Zee.Aero, which is working on something that’s a cross between a car and a helicopter. And there’s other startups, like MIT-birthed Terrafugia, as well as efforts by Airbus and others.
On Monday, at the SxSW conference taking place in Austin, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford was asked if Ford had any plans for flying cars.
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: We’ll see. Because the great-grandson of Henry Ford doesn’t think the idea is “crazy.” But he does think its better to build self-flying cars, rather than mini quasi aeroplanes operated by a human.
He asked “is Ford working on flying vehicles,” he told the audience:
“We’re not, but it’s not so crazy. Although I would say they had better be autonomous. Most people can’t drive two dimensions. let alone three.
“There are entrepreneurs who are working on flying vehicles. I haven’t been in one, but seen a test of one. And they are technically going to be very possible.
“But go back to automation. Think about today, planes, which you to take off and land at the airport, which eliminates 99% of their usefulness. You have to be a licensed pilot. Well, how many of those are there?
“But in time, regulations change and these things start to become more interesting. So I wouldn’t say never for us, but not in the short term for us.”
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