Since Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989, people have always wondered if we could really someday have flying cars. We see them in the old Jetsons cartoons and other films, but could we one day fly around instead of owning automobiles on land?
It seems like an impossible idea, but now, according to the Financial Post, the Japanese government suggests it’s not a far-off idea after all.
The Big Plan
The Japanese government has big plans for inventing the first flying vehicle. Partnering with corporate businesses, including All Nippon Airways, Tokyo’s NEC Corporation hopes to have a flying vehicle invented by the 2020 Summer Olympics hosted in Tokyo.
What’s even better is that the corporation anticipates a vehicle will fly up and light the torch at the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
But there will be many things involved before we start flying around to go grocery shopping at the local market.
The First Test Run
Unfortunately for the Japanese, they haven’t perfected their model for the first flying vehicle. At a demonstration in 2017, the device crashed after it rose slightly above eye level. Considering drivers get in car accidents on the ground, you can imagine how many crashes would occur if we were flying.
Others are skeptical about the project, including Elon Musk, chief executive of electric car designer Tesla. To him, the idea isn’t practical.
“If you want a flying car, just put wheels on a helicopter,” Musk said. “Your neighbors are not going to be happy if you land a flying car in your backyard or on your rooftop.”
Failure Is Not An Option
Despite its failed attempts, the Japanese aren’t giving up on their opportunity to be leading innovators in transforming urban travel.
The goal is to create a car that operates like a flying drone. The craft would be powered by a battery, much like how most small-scale drones are made today. Once they are functional, the vehicles, referred to as EVtol (electric vertical takeoff and landing), would cut down on traffic congestion, parking lot hassles, and reducing emissions into the atmosphere.
Developers are working hard at perfecting the EVtol in order for it never to crash again.
A Chance To Shine
Project head Fumiaki Ebihara has been working to improve the vehicle’s motors and batteries. Japanese government officials are eager the upcoming invention will designate Japan as a leading innovator in global markets.
“This is such a totally new sector Japan has a good chance for not falling behind,” Ebihara said. “Up to now, it was just a dream, but with innovations in motors and batteries, it’s time for it to become real.”
But until then, Ebihara and his team of engineers are working to improve the vehicle’s safety—credited as one of the biggest hurdles in the project.
But if you ask Ebihara, the impossible is possible, and there will one day be flying cars. Just like when vehicles were invented after the horse-drawn carriages, people had to adapt to change. The same will happen now.
Are you ready to fly?