FAA has been approving drone services and product delivery for commerce a rapid rate. Drone delivery services was once thought to be a thing as farfetched as flying cars. This can’t be further from the truth on both levels. Flying cars have been in the making as early as 1999. They have been successfully tested throughout the world over, the last several years as well. Launch projections of flying car trials designed to promote regulation of flying cars, have been predicted to be as early as 2020 by Uber Air. Uber plans on making entire sky port buildings that will be similar to indoor parking lots and rooftop helicopter pads, but a hybrid of both in full operation by 2023.
The main questions are: will it be approved as easily and as smoothly as non-passenger autonomous delivery drones have?
How overburdensome is the tax consequences for infrastructure to the local citizens of the communities they are being built in?
Flying cars requires a new level of safety and regulation. An aviation 2.0 as they are calling it. In order to sustain the future demand, while keeping up with the ever evolving, fast pace autonomous and AI world, the FAA will need to push down a little on the break peddle of the aviation industry when it comes to flying cars. Safety is the FAA’s number one priority both to the public at large and to the private sector.
The FAA will require a safety inspection for every vehicle that plans on flying the National Air Space (NAS). Once done successfully, the FAA will need to certify the vehicles in order to fly in tightly controlled airspace selected.
“We’re the safety regulators; we’re going to come at this from a safety perspective,” said the acting administrator of the FAA, Dan Elwell.
Let’s focus on one dominating player in the field, Uber. Uber Air is looking to launch its Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth by the end of 2023. But how does the FAA look at this expectation?
“Sounds neat. Just don’t expect it soon. “The pace of technological advancement in this industry is faster than anything we’ve had to deal with. When you put passengers on autonomous vehicles, as opposed to delivering a package, you introduce a much, much higher bar you need to get over.” (Dan Elwell)
In order to work with the FAA on these raised bars, Uber is planning on introducing a vehicle that is both pilot driven and partially autonomous. Which now imposes a new problem. There is already a shortage in pilots in our current aviation industry. Double down on that with newly demanded drone pilots, and you have a shortage of trained and qualified pilots that will over exceed the expectations of flight demand of almost double. Notwithstanding the cost of a pilot, cost of an entire building being built in order to create the infrastructure to house and or temporarily park these flying planes and the cost of these flying cars themselves, that would soon be out of service by obsoletion, with a fully autonomous vehicle, the moment the FAA clears them or the competition to do so. With Uber presenting only prototypes to the FAA, they have a long way to go.
Source: Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/uber-flying-cars-faa-regulation/
Another thing to consider for approval, is the local government municipalities approval and the citizens that they govern, giving localized approval. Building an entire brick and mortar infrastructure that is a commercial or industrial building, will cost the citizens of that village or city a considerable tax burden in order to absorb any municipal an or state costs associated with the projects. Rezoning, annexing property, invoking eminent domain, paying exorbitant costs for land in prime locations for the development of these locations, all comes into consideration as well, aside from the R&D.
Uber has made it a point to make the industry see them as the forefront of this technology and infrastructure. Here are a few of the media PR videos that are helping them do just that.
Sky News Australia - Uber Air. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy6KsBtY2Vw
CBS Los Angeles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdK9SGOMtG8
Aside from Uber, there are other flying cars being made elsewhere in order to help further the cause and fuel a faster pace of approval for the flying car industry at large, in the on demand public transportation business.
Uber Competitors: What are the top flying cars that are on the radar besides Uber?
Aeromobile 3.0: Slovikian company.
Cora, a flying taxi backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. (Self-piloting taxi has been cleared for takeoff in New Zealand.
Here are some additional vehicles in the running:
Terrafugia TF-X: 4 Seat hybrid with wings, with no runway needed.
Ehang 184: Chinese made. Fully automated. No pilot’s license.
Pal-V personal flying car.
The Lilium Jet: Individual flying cars for your personal use and for public flying taxi use as well.
Volocopter: In partnership with Intel; flying taxi drone.
Airbus will also be providing on demand drones and Audi is working on an anti-gravity car model. Yes that is correct…I said anti-gravity!