Death From Above?

As long as there have been cars there have been dreams and machinations about flying cars. The regular, road-rolling ones apprentice not being exciting enough, despite the annual fatality rates. No! Today’s young jet setters want new and interesting ways to potentially die during travel, hence all the frothing excitement about the recent announcement of the world’s first ‘flying car’.

Now, as with most announcements made by the technocracy, er, tech sector, there is a certain degree of exaggeration going on. Much like the ‘hover-board’ before it, ‘flying car’ is a term mostly for reasons of easy recognition, the things actually being called multi-motor vertical take-off and landing vehicles, which doesn’t look nearly as pithy in press releases.

While the term ‘flying car’ may well conjure images of a Buick with wings or a rocket propelled hatchback, the VTOLS are actually closer to smaller, lighter, more easily maneuverable helicopters intended for civilian, urban use. Not quite as bone-shakingly awesome as sky-bound Mercedes but still pretty cool in their own right.

Traffic jams would be a thing of the pas and you would never need to be late for work again, the speed limit and pesky pedestrians no longer being of any consequence. They would also be small enough to fit into a standard sized parking space, helipads not being required, causing no major change to the city infrastructure. Food delivery could easily become a much more efficient, air-drop affair, large pepperoni and cheese and chicken fried rice and spicy prawn balls wafting gently to earth on tiny parachutes. The payment having been done online.

There are, of course, one or two down sides to the introduction of what amount to miniature helicopters into civilian populations. These include the nearly inevitable rains of flaming metal parts following early-stage collisions before people really learn how to handle them properly. There is also the related risk to buildings, the corner window office suddenly not seeming like such a perk.

Outside the accidental threats, there could also be a possible impact on crime, one of the groups able to afford the deceives, at least in the beginning, are organized crime syndicates. The very same group least likely to give a toss about gun regulations, and with the third easiest access, after the military and terrorist groups, to explosives. The term ‘gang war’ could certainly take on a whole new meaning.

Some may ask why bother with aerial vehicles when automation is already here with drones and self-driving cars. Good point straw-man commentator! As far as I can tell there are still those – adrenaline junkies I believe they are called – that still want to be in control of things as they defy Newton.

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