Science fiction is an ever-evolving genre that often reinvents itself to stay ahead of current trends in technology. After all, many inventions that were once science fiction are now commonplace. There is one constant exception, inspiring the question that many have asked, however tongue-in-cheek: “Where’s my flying car?”
From Doctor Who (2007) to The Fifth Element (1997), stretching all the way back to The Jetsons (1962) and possibly before, mankind has been promised the future… in the form of an airborne automobile. Followed closely by the jetpack, the flying car seems to be the most often cited example of technology that could theoretically be mass produced, yet somehow isn’t. “Safety and practicality concerns aside”, one might ask, “what’s stopping mankind from commuting as the crow flies?”
The answer is, apparently nothing!
Over 15 different design groups have attempted to create a flying car over the years, with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly, the first known attempt was by Glenn Curtiss, the main rival to the Wright Brothers! Soon after, another unsuccessful attempt was made by Ford Motor Company, but was soon abandoned. One of the best known examples is the Aerocar, designed by Moulton Taylor in 1949. Here’s a truly amazing fact: Not only did the Aerocar fly successfully, one of the 6 original prototypes is still flying…as recently as 2006! Another recent design is the Terrafugia Transition (above). It is under development by a private company founded by MIT graduates and has been displayed at auto shows.
So, perhaps flying cars may be more of a reality than most of us were aware of, but it will probably be quite a while longer before we see them parked in our driveways!
Want to learn more about personal aircraft like the Terrafugia Transition? Check out Dean of Invention: Future Flight on DE streaming!