Flying cars aren’t viable, says Elon Musk

‘Elon Musk Is Really Boring’, read a Bloomberg Business headline yesterday, in what I thought was a rather cruel jibe. Turns out he really is boring – boring tunnels to combat traffic. “Traffic is driving me nuts,” he tweeted from the midst of a traffic jam back in December. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”

Flying cars aren’t viable, says Elon Musk

This, he thinks, is a better alternative to flying cars, which have garnered increasing media attention after Uber hired a NASA expert to look into their viability and Japan announced it will have a flying car in time for the 2020 Olympics. “Obviously, I like flying things,” Musk said to Bloomberg, “But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.” He believes his underground network of tunnels, whilst outlandish and ambitious in equal measure, is a more feasible alternative to the Harry Potter-esque vehicles.

His qualms are reasonable; Musk maintains that in order for a car to take flight, it would have to generate a lot of downward force in order to keep it aloft. This, in turn, would generate lots of noise and wind for pedestrians. What’s more, the cars could potentially rain debris on the people below. “If somebody doesn’t maintain their flying car, it could drop a hubcap and guillotine you,” Musk said. “Your anxiety level will not decrease as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.”

Meanwhile, fellow titans of tech aren’t so quick to dismiss the idea. Joining the likes of Uber is Google co-founder Larry Page, who is funding notoriously secretive startup Zee.Aero’s work on developing a flying car. Back in October eyewitnesses reported seeing one of Zee.Aero’s ‘flying cars’ hovering in the Californian wilderness. To their dismay, it was reported to resemble a ‘tiny airplane’, not the Cadillac-with-wings some had envisioned.

Zee.Aero’s vehicles are, in fact, Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, that can take off vertically without a runway – they’re not intended to drive on roads at all. Uber too, plans to use VTOL aircraft in cities, but will be partnering with other companies and governments to help realise their goals.

Musk, meanwhile, in a semantically misleading endeavour, will continue to bore, turning his nose up at his peers’ (literally) lofty objectives. Flying cars, it seems, are the tech world’s Marmite.

Image: Heisenberg Media used under Creative Commons

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos