Toyota wants to deliver the Olympic Torch to the Tokyo Games in 2020.
It has a lot of work ahead of it:
It’s important to have the volume up on that, because it highlights the other reason why we need to stop getting excited about flying cars.
The noise. There’s a reason why real estate is cheapest near highways, train lines and under flight paths, but at least you can choose to save up and buy something somewhere more peaceful.
So far, humans are yet to invent a silent anything propelled by a jet engine or propellers, so if there were some way we could all take to the skies right now in a personal aircraft destined for work, the noise of the future doesn’t even bear thinking about.
Regardless, Toyota has invested about $US400,000 with Cartivator Resource Management in order to make its mark on the world in 2020 in much the same way as jet pack guy did in Los Angeles in 1984.
33 years later, we’ve barely shifted up a gear. The closest we’ve come to a commercial jetpack is the enormous Martin Jetpack. It spent more than 25 years in development, and is still missing its deadlines for commercial deployment.
But last week, there was some hope in the form of a personal drone carrier at a football match in Spain:
Still, a bit chilly, and unlikely to ever be good for anything other than nipping down to the shops. And still noisy, as are the UK’s “Iron Man” bracelets which wowed TED attendees earlier this year. Turn the volume back down:
Elon Musk, probably the first person you’d think of when it comes to someone who can make the dream of personal aerospace a reality, isn’t wasting his time with it all, for exactly the reasons showcased in the videos above – noise and danger to people on the ground. He’s putting his billions into sending our traffic problems 30 levels below ground, courtesy of The Boring Company.
“If somebody doesn’t maintain their flying car, it could drop a hubcap and guillotine you,” Musk said. “Your anxiety level will not decrease as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.”
There’s no doubt Toyota’s flying car will be a spectacle at the 2020 Opening Ceremony. The prototype in the video is absolutely a raw proof of concept.
Cartivator hopes to use the extra funds from Toyota to refine the design and get a pilot on board for a test run in 2019. By that time, there’s a good chance we’ll have seen the first genuinely commercially available “flying cars” being driven by millionaires in our skies, somewhere.
AeroMobil, eHang and Airbus all have models they claim will be in production within a year.
But how long will the rest of us put up with them?