It's a bird. It's a plane. No Wait! It's a Car?
What does the future hold?
Most of us have seen or at least heard of the Back to the Future movies. It seems like nothing that far advanced would ever be possible, doesn't it? What exactly are our limits of personal air flight. We have already been able to regulate Helicopter and Jet Travel with minimal problems, so what is saying that we can not advance further into making air travel a more common practice. When we watch the show "The Jetsons" we see that as hogwash and impossibility, but in actuality it's not that hard to believe. Believe it or not, NASA is way ahead of what most people could ever imagine.
The Highway in the Sky
The cars we have nowadays are just great, aren't they? We have hybrids that get up to 80 miles per gallon. We have private jets and airplanes the travel hundreds of mile per hour. Heck we've even been to the moon. But realistically what can we expect for the future of travel? What if I told you we would be real life Jetsons? It's true. Inventors have already patented flying cars that are ready to take off today. The only thing standing in the way is air traffic regulation. How can we control this kind of travel technique? Well our old friends at NASA have us covered. Over the last few years NASA's top scientists and engineers have built a system called "The Highway in the Sky", a program that allows millions of people to fly at once from any point to any destination they choose. The way the program works is a device that is installed and programmed into your flying vehicle. It's very similar to a video game. The car is featured in a box and the basics is to keep the car inside that central box, away from any other vehicles or buildings.
So now that we have discussed how air travel will work, what types of vehicles will be available to us?
Woody Norris, a 66 year old inventor, has won the Lemelson MIT Award for best American invention, called the "AirScooter". The AirScooter can go as fast as 55 miles per hour and hover close to 10,000 feet above sea level. The basic steering is like that of a motorcycle's handlebars. When the handlebar is pushed forward, the AirScooter goes forward. When pushed back, that's right, the AirScooter goes backwards. The best thing about it is that an pilot's license won't be required as long as it is flown under 400 feet. Perhaps the most stunning information about the AirScooter is that it is scheduled to be sold at only $50,000 upon release.
Our next inventor, Paul Moller, is still working on his prototype flying car, that resembles a Batmobile-like Ferrari design. The SkyCar has 4 turbine engines that can propel it into the air and reach speeds of up to 300 mph. The SkyCar is the most advanced flying car that is being worked on but is said to be at least ten years away from perfection. The SkyCar is designed to reach altitudes of up to 20,000 feet. Moller states that it is just like riding in a balanced car, only you're flying. There is no set price for the SkyCar as of yet, but I can remember reading that it would be in the million dollar range. Moller did an interview with 60 minutes, demonstrating how the car works.
The Springtail Jetpack
Harry Falk and his team of engineers at Trek Aerospace have invented a jetpack type flying machine called the Springtail. There has been a million dollars invested in the prototype so far that is designed to reach speeds of 90 miles an hour at 400 feet. While the Springtail is the most compact of the flying machines so far, it generates a lot of wind and is very loud when first started. Since the Springtail is still in the experimental stage, nobody but Trek Aerospace employees have been allowed to fly it. There is a small amount of footage showing how the machine will work.
Maybe the most intriguing of all flying vehicles, to me, is the CarterCopter, which was invented by Jay Carter. The CarterCopter is designed to reach speeds of 400 miles per hour and said to be able to be able to beat the travel time of a jet from point to point. The CarterCopter basically works the same as a helicopter, being able to hover, rise and descend just like a helicopter. While the CarterCopter is still in the experimental phase, Jay Carter is already working on a second prototype that has the ability to fold up its' wings and have the same functions of a normal car. The estimated price would be around $300,000 to own one of these magnificent machines.
More to come
The future holds far more than just air travel. Stay tuned to see what other advances that the human race will contribute to our future. I will be posting more interesting advances each week on my main page.
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