Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flying Cars Are Coming, But We're Not Ready

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

NOT the new BiPod.
  • NOT the new BiPod.

Those dyspeptic traffic jams on the BQE will be a distant memory once the BiPod, yet another new model for a flying car, (perhaps) hits the market in the near to distant future—or in 2015, as Back to the Future II promised us.

Developed by Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan, the hybrid flying car dubbed the 367 BiPod (pictured below) will be piloted from the left cockpit (sorry Brits) and flown like a plane from the right. It features things this English major cannot begin to comprehend, like two 450cc internal combustion engines, 15kW motors on both driving wheels and the motor-driven propellers, and lithium batteries that are recharged midflight. The BiPod can travel 760 miles at 100 mph, easily rocketing past the death-machines that are tractor trailers. And as a car, the carbon and fiberglass BiPod can get 820 miles out of a tank of gas and 35 relatively measly miles in electric mode.

An actual BiPod prototype.
  • The real BiPod prototype.

Flying cars are a noble venture, though as statistics show, people are really, really terrible at steering land-locked automobiles. What The Jetsons never gave America was a trashed Judy telling her girlfriend that she was totally good to fly as she flopped behind the wheel of her Japanese-produced space-car, attempted to maneuver onto the always tricky space-highway, and swerved into a space-truck before careening hundreds of feet below through the roof of a space-electronics store, resulting in countless space-deaths.

For now, the self-driving Google cars seem like a better bet. Texting while rear-ending the car in front of you is one thing. Texting while rear-ending the car in front of you and setting off a twenty car sky pileup that rains flaming machine parts down upon terrified pedestrians too poor to afford the privilege of dying while airborne is quite another.

Unless, they develop self-driving flying cars... then only a GPS malfunction will cause the sky to rain machine fire.

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