• Aug 15, 2005

I know we're all disappointed that the flying cars we were promised way back in the Fifties and Sixties haven't come to fruition yet. I mean we're not living in the future until we have flying cars, right? Luxist has learned that NASA is addressing our grievances by funding the Personal Air Vehicle Challenge. Up for grabs are $250,000 in prize money for a variety of advancements in flying vehicle technology. You could earn $25,000 for an advancement in noise control and $150,000 for a "vehicle with two to six seats that can fly at least 130 mph for a 300-mile range while being fuel-efficient and making good time door-to-door." Luxist's Deidre Woolard makes the good point that NASA doesn't have the dough to put up a proper incentive for this challenge. Perhaps Paul Allen is looking for another pet project to fund.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Stu Lloyd
      • 7 Days Ago

      I have learned that today, you just have to come up with a design concept that looks great and the technology to make it a reality will follow.  I have a lovely design that allows smooth transition between car and aircraft and looks great in both configurations (with minimal reconfiguration). I wont be able to do it alone but I have my drawings and soon a scale representation.  I am working on getting my design put into CAD form and then I can show it off.  Also, CAD will allow me to make real progress and look for a backer in the future.

      Stu Lloyd

      • 9 Years Ago
      I live in a flight path in Minneapolis currently. The jets from the international airport go over head at about 1200-3000 feet up and they ROAR. Strangely though over time I have become less and less aware of them. When I go up north though it's very very quiet in comparison. I think there is an ambient noise level present in most metro areas already, and if the cars could be kept at a reasonable audio level (40-50db) then I don't believe there'd be much impact. Now on the other hand if you live out in the country and your neighbor in his new Skychariot3000 keeps zooming around at 2am.. well, there are just too many variables in this whole thing... am I rambling? :-) oh yah, and 150K is what it would cost just to get the people you'd need to work on this in the room for a couple weeks, much less supply them with any materials or computers and such....
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Says the outspoken proponent of "personal magnetic levitation transportation systems". You have no idea what you're talking about, but what else is new. "Nobody has any idea what may or may not happen." No one has psychic powers? You don't say! However, informed people tend to have more insight than dilettantes.
      • 9 Years Ago
      And God help you if there's no flux-capacitor option package!
      • 9 Years Ago
      wait so the clowns that cant handle 2d driving will want to take on 3d driving... and i hope that i can reverse the polarity if something goes wrong before i crash...
      • 9 Years Ago
      joseph, i agree. the idea of flying cars is awesome, but in reality they would be too dangerous in the hands of the average idiot who does not have the time to be bothered by watching the road to be worth it.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Actually, what's not mentioned in the blog is that NASA has funded research on a project called "Highway in the Sky" or some other catchy name like that, I forget if that's correct or not, to essentially completely automate flight for low-level (i.e. below 8k feet) flight. While current avionics are not quite there yet, they're getting close. The primary barrier is cost. Current commercial transport a/c have automated TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system), and I believe that an airport/taxiway collision avoidance system is either already mandated or going to be soon. At some point, if these systems are mass produced, it would not be inconceivable to have an avionics package in the $100k range that is nearly completely automated. Of course, then you've got the rest of the a/c to pay for, but no one ever said the "Highway in the Sky" was going to be cheap . . .
      • 9 Years Ago
      geez, NASA should just cancel all of its projects and spend all its money on competitions like this. A shitload more would get done. Yeah its not a lot in the grand scheme of building a flying car, but it helps- spaceshipone cost a lot more than $10 million to make, and that didnt stop them. Its encouragement. And if other public or private organizations were to chip in more money, flying cars could start to become a reality.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I agree with 11. I've been keeping an eye on Moeller for many years. I'd love to see this kind of technology get developed. But, since the value of the prize is LESS than the cost of one of these things, I don't think this is going to excite anyone.
      • 9 Years Ago
      New job classification: Neighborhood Air Traffic Controller.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "If it was high enough and I couldnt hear it, I wouldnt care." I wasn't aware of the existence of silent aircraft. "Joseph, you understand that rather a large number of aircraft pass over people's heads every day" Yes, and people try not to live near their flight paths, as they are very noisy. "and very few people die from getting hit in the head with said aircraft?" Strawman - I never made that argument. Try again. "Compare the odds of living under airplanes with the odds of crossing a street on foot, at a crosswalk." Compare the sound of idiots buzzing over your house night and day with being able to live away from noise somewhat. No chance in hell will people let things like this develop - it's the NIMBY factor.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "I wasn't aware of the existence of silent aircraft." I wasnt aware of flying cars either, but this whole discussion is about possible near future technolgy. from the article: "You could earn $25,000 for an advancement in noise control" clearly its what the program is getting at.
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