Technogiant want to reconsider the methods of our movement in the coming decades, but which one will win? Last week Elon Musk and Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi talked on Twitter for the topic of what flying cars will be a breakthrough in transportation. Khosrowshahi said that it is not necessary to dig tunnels for the Hyperloop, as Musk is. Recall, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wants to launch passengers in beans in vacuum tubes at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per hour.
Musk said that the result of the ubiquity of flying cars will be noise and ruffle in the eyes. Khosrowshahi, whose company is developing flying cars initiative Elevate, parried, saying that an improved battery and a few small rotors will reduce the noise and pollution.
All they in something are right, both visions of the future of transport have the right to life. The question is: who will win? Who is more convincing?
Flying cars have long been hiding somewhere around the corner, but despite the fact that the idea exists already for seventy years, none of them entered mass production. However, this may change.
If you love drones above your house, you’ll really love vast numbers of cars flying over your head that are 1000 times bigger and noisier and blow away anything that isn’t nailed down when they land
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018.
Challenge accepted. Improved battery tech (thx 2 @elonmusk) and multiple smaller rotors will be much more efficient and avoid noise + environmental pollution. https://t.co/563U0RqDYF
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) 22 Feb 2018
Drone technology-bespilotnikov present a very convincing image of a rework of the flying cars. Previously, it was basically a car with wings, but now it’s more of a new generation of electric, often Autonomous, multirotor passenger vehicles.
Chinese startup eHang last month showed footage of people traveling for Autonomous passenger drones. According to CNN, the company carries passengers in 2015, but in the shot it fell for the first time.
Self-governing multirotor concept Airbus Vahana also carried out its first test flight in January, and the company said it plans to implement a version for mass production by 2020. Obviously, there are other startups working on prototypes.
To build flying cars is only part of the problem. Currently, it is unclear what rules the vehicles will be governed by the standard rules of aviation or new rules to be formulated for companies like Amazon who want to do air shipping.
Probably all will depend on the level of autonomy of the vehicle. Fully Autonomous eHang will not be much different from the drone of delivery, except that with a person instead of cargo. But Uber in your document Elevate sees pilots-people with the support of a partially Autonomous vehicle. The company claims that in an urban area, such devices can already fly on the rights of the helicopters.
Uber recognizes that adequate scaling of the new system of management of air traffic must be able to cope with thousands of drones and flying cars at low altitudes. NASA is currently developing this system and plans to implement it in the best case in 2025, and Uber recently joined the project, so the problem may be solved just by the time flying cars will be ready to capture the sky.
But what is the business model is quite another matter. Uber wants to offer the same services on transportation of passengers, as now, but they will sit in a specially equipped indoor “vertiport”.
Given the investment in infrastructure needed to create a comprehensive network of such centers, large initial costs for a fleet of flying machines, limited range of flight (due to weak batteries) and the cost of pilot training (or development impeccable authority), is extremely difficult to imagine that the available service of this kind will appear in the near future. Uber, of course, convinces us otherwise.
Perhaps this solution would be more environmentally friendly and convenient way for the wealthy executives to fly from one helipad to another. But hardly Uber and Lyft will be able to fix created their own traffic jams this way. Tube they created, pulling people out of public transport.
On the other hand, the vision Mask called Hyperloop offers just after the mass transit. He first presented the idea of launching passengers on the vacuum tube between Los Angeles and San Francisco at speeds of 1000 km/h in 2013.
It’s only been five years, and from Chicago to Mumbai are offered different projects, and over the direct embodiment employs several companies, including Virgin Hyperloop One, which is supported by billionaire Richard Branson.
While the Hyperloop needs to offer more cheap, clean and quick alternative to a short flight or high-speed highway between the towns, Musk also represented a more modest system Loop for urban areas. It is a network of tunnels dug under the city, with Autonomous “elettrocanali” that is worn on a speed of 200 km/h and can carry passenger cars or beans between the elevators, coming out onto the street.
Virgin Hyperloop One managed to disperse passenger Bob to the maximum speed of 387 km/h in the experimental tube length of 500 meters, but the technology itself still further from realization than flying cars. And if the funding of infrastructure to maintain the latter seems a difficult task, the cost of digging hundreds of kilometers of tunnels and filling them with electrified vacuum tubes… well, you understand.
In an attempt to cope with this question, Musk has created a Boring Company, which aims to reduce the cost of creating tunnels of $ 1 billion per kilometer in the United States more than ten times. But tens of millions of dollars per kilometer is still a huge amount of money.
And even if you find them, creating a tunnel takes a lot of time. And the resolution for their creation will have to dislodge for decades.
However, the project of mass transit can attract more attention of secondlow than trying to release into the skies above the city flying cars. Bent Flyvbjerg, an economist from Oxford University, specializing in mega-projects, said that major infrastructure relies on large subsidies, therefore, considering environmental and effective benefits, he sees no reason why not to build the Hyperloop.
He also noted that Musk is perfectly able to handle the financing of the government in the form of grants, tax breaks and environmental credits, as shown by his other projects. However, Boring Company will not raise additional funds for their projects.
Eventually flying cars and high-speed adpowerzone travel are unlikely to compete. They fill different niches, so the success of one is unlikely to prevent the development of another.
Currently the flying cars look closer to implementation, but it is unclear whether they become more than an update of private helicopters that few of us actually will use. The combination of the Hyperloop and the Loop, on the other hand, can justify the promise of Musk’s “fifth mode of transport”, which will revolutionize mass transportation… if you can find the money for its creation.