Are we in for a future of the Jetsons with flying cars? Or as mentioned in a prior post, most people not owning cars, but instead, doing taxis, limo rental, uber type services and the like. Will the cars drive themselves or will we still be at the wheel?
Flying Cars Planned
Well, there are actually some cars that can fly. The problem is the cost. They will probably never be a main stream item. However, one company Terrafugia is designing a flying car they call the TF-X. It uses technology that is already available and would fly at 200 mph and hold 4 people. No pilot’s license would be needed because it would fly itself. Terrafugia says it will probably be ready in 10 years. They have a model that will need a pilot’s license and is close to passing FAA approval and could be ready for sale in one to two years.
There is also a prototype called the AeroMobile. They are on version 3.0 and it is almost ready to be sold as well. It uses regular gasoline so it can be driven into any gas station to refuel.
Is it a Car or a Technology Product?
USA Today had an article where they felt self driving cars are in the future and the near future will be more tech upgrades to cars. At first the article made it sound like automated cars might not happen but later in the article it intimated it might happen in 10 years or so. That seems pretty close. They point out how much technology is going into cars these days and how a lot of tech companies have increasing automotive sales.
They feel like it will take a while because to have self driving cars, it is not like it is on a test track. They have to interact with self driving cars from other manufacturers. Then there is the question of how much will insurance be and also getting the legislation passed to allow it. Not things that will happen overnight.
Another reason it will take a while is that the car industry operates on a different schedule. The tech industry often works on a 6 month time frame, but new car models typically take 5 years to roll out.
Who Makes the Money?
The article says that people like to drive, but we think that those people will be a minority. We do agree though that the car companies may have to worry more about the tech companies like Google. They may come up with their own cars, but they also may change the power structure and where most of the profits go. It may be that the tech companies walk away with most of the profits from cars and the car companies don’t make that much because their part is more commodotized.