“I think we’ll see a lot of demos happening in the next two or three years,” Diamandis, a founding board member of Hyperloop One, told Business Insider. “And I think we’ll see, within five years, we’ll start to see them in specific places.”
And Diamandis would know. Hyperloop One is leading the way in the future of mass transit transportation. The concept of the “Hyperloop” is the product of the mind of Elon Musk — the driving force behind SpaceX and Tesla Motors — who chose not to patent the idea so as to encourage international scientific innovation.
CNN recently described the system after Hyperloop One was invited to Dubai to present designs at the scientific and engineering conference, Build Earth Live:
“Known as a ‘Hyperloop’ link, electric propulsion moves the capsule, or autonomous vehicle, along the pipe in a low pressure environment, to reach speeds of at least 740 miles (1,200 km) per hour — unprecedented for a ground-based system.”
In Diamandis’ vision of the future, flying cars will fundamentally change how and even where we choose to live, chiefly due to significantly reduced travel times. Someone who works in a major city, for instance, would have the option of living in the country and still make it to work on time — particularly if that city has several established landing zones.
“Imagine if there’s a dozen ports or buildings,” he told Business Insider. “You’ll fly from New Jersey to a rooftop on 5th(avenue) and there will be an autonomous car waiting to take you to your final destination. It’s new routing capability for humans.”
And Diamandis isn’t alone in his confidence in the feasibility of the flying car concept. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, has invested $100 million in the technology. He also owns Zee.Aero, a Silicon Valley startup that is“developing a revolutionary new form of transportation.” He’s also reportedly funding a second flying car startup, Kitty Hawk.
Carl Dietrich, co-founder of Terrafugia — yet another company dedicated to bring this concept to life — says his company’s vehicle will take off vertically, and only requires a space the size of a tennis court to transition into flying mode.
“If you have the space on your own private land, you can do that,” he told Tech Insider in February. “Or what may be more common in suburban areas is a local shopping plaza may create a vertical take-off area that maybe you pay a toll to use.”
While the progression of the technology — and the enthusiasm behind it — is encouraging, much of how quickly the average citizen can hop into a flying car and take off at will depends on the FAA’s regulations on autonomous flying vehicles, which have yet to finalized.
“Until we get that in place,” Dietrich told Tech Insider, “things are pretty fuzzy.”
But Diamandis is confident that, for the much-desired and long-hoped-for flying car, it’s only a matter of time.
“We’re going to have thousands and millions of flying drones in corridors, and then we’ll also see people carrying,” he said. “You know, I think it’s an inevitability.”
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