Are we close to a new era of commuting to work in personal air and land vehicles (that’s flying cars to you and me)? It is an appealing idea: the freedom of the skies, no traffic jams and maybe no vehicle tax.
Amazon’s blimps will have company in the sky, according to a new patent revealing that Walmart too wants to develop the aircraft.
The discount retail giant has been granted a patent for ‘gas-filled carrier aircrafts’ that would serve as airborne bases for fleets of delivery drones.
BEFORE YOU CAN zip about in a flying car, engineers must solve a few problems. Oddly, figuring out how to make a flying car fly isn’t among them. The basics of flight were sorted out more than 100 years ago.
UBER IS MORE than fly-curious about taking ridesharing to the air. The company announced Tuesday that it plans to roll out a network of flying cars in Dallas-Fort Worth and, of course, Dubai by 2020.
FRICTION burns. And the friction of the air on something travelling at five times the speed of sound burns hot. The leading edge of such an object can easily reach a temperature of 3,000°C. Inconveniently, that is above the melting point of most materials used by engineers.
Boeing is set to start testing self-flying planes, the company has revealed. It says it wants to develop autonomous aircraft, which would be capable of navigating themselves without any input from a human pilot.
BOEING JUST GOT into the autonomous aviation game, with the goal of building jetliners that fly themselves, no pilots required. “The basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available,” Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president of product development, said ahead of the Paris Airshow.
THE 67-metre-tall control tower that opened at San Francisco International Airport in October is a stylish structure that cost $120m. It is supposed to resemble a beacon of the sort used in ancient times to guide ships safely to harbour. Those in the know might be forgiven for wondering if the new control tower is less a beacon than a white elephant.
An outfit called Aurora Flight Sciences is trumpeting the fact that one of its robots has successfully landed a simulated Boeing 737. Aviation-savvy readers may well shrug upon learning that news, because robots – or at least auto-landing systems – land planes all the time and have done so for decades.
YOU may smile, but it will come,” said Henry Ford in 1940, predicting the arrival of a machine that was part-automobile and part-aeroplane. For decades flying cars have obsessed technologists but eluded their mastery. Finally there is reason to believe. Several firms have offered hope that flying people in small pods for short trips might become a reality in the next decade.
Wonder why some companies still ship products on boats instead of speedy aircraft? It’s because air freight is much more expensive — the costs of the crew and fuel quickly add up. Natilus, however, thinks drones might offer a solution.