How soon could flying cars beat Bruce Hwy grind?

HEAR the words flying cars and you picture artificial intelligence, holograms and hoverboards, and it's 2050 or something, right?

Wrong.

Los Angeles plans to roll out a version of drone-like flying cars by 2020. Dubai and Dallas are looking at 2030.

The question now for the Sunshine State, is do we follow their lead a decade after or one year after?

Queensland chief entrepreneur Steve Baxter, of Shark Week fame, certainly hopes it is the latter.

 

Steve Baxter.
Steve Baxter.

He believes it is a very real solution to solving the Bruce Highway drama between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

Given billions of dollars are sunk into Queensland roads every year, this could save a fortune.

Do you think we'll have flying cars over the Bruce Highway by 2030?

This poll ended on 24 April 2018.

Current Results

Sure, the technology is well within reach.

23%

I don't see the government getting through the red tape until 2040.

34%

I think we'll have a different, better solution altogether before we get flying cars.

42%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


Gurus at Uber and Google have flying cars already, and given how rapidly advancing technology is year on year, Mr Baxter said the more people off our roads the better.

 

Toyota's flying car rendering
Toyota's flying car rendering

"LA are claiming to have them going by 2020, which is quite adventurous. But it isn't if, it is when," Mr Baxter said.

"They are alive and well. There is around half a dozen flying car concepts and the same amount on the drawing board. Think an upscale drone.

"Customer perception is the big issue. They are there and they will work. The less time we take to embrace it, the better."

 

Toyota Flying Car
Toyota Flying Car

While the concepts are still in a basic form, and not the space-age creations a mind might muster, they work.

The drone-helicopter-like two seaters are currently capable of reaching 100km/h. The electric-powered vehicles are ever-improving their recharge output.

But the thing that really excites Mr Baxter is the ability to work in a city but commute from afar - 170km away.

"I work in Brisbane and it takes me 50 minutes on a good run, over an hour on a bad run. In one of these vehicles it would be substantially faster.

"I could choose where I want to live. The Toowoomba Ranges, Moreton Island, Noosa, there are plenty of places I'd prefer to live.

"One could live at Peregian Beach and get to Brisbane in no time. Over roadworks, accidents, everything.

"They are about the same size as a large SUV, they're not trucks. And you can land a helicopter on a driveway."

 

Airbus' A3 Vahana 'flying car' concept vehicle could be used by Uber Elevate in future.
Airbus' A3 Vahana 'flying car' concept vehicle could be used by Uber Elevate in future. Contributed

Mr Baxter said it was only a matter of time until autonomous vehicles would be the new norm.

He knows they won't be completely incident-free but the fact that humans won't control them is vital.

His said his skyline vision would be safer than roads.

"If you look up in the sky, for a cubic kilometre of airspace, you won't have a car within 50 metres of one another," he said.

"For one cubic kilometre you could have 4000 cars in the sky. That is a phenomenal number.

"No bitumen, no concrete, it will be safer and in the long run, inexpensive."

Mr Baxter said it was up to the government to put the wheels in motion to make the reality of flying cars that little bit closer.


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