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With advances in technology driving innovation in VTOL, flying cars are poised to be as ubiquitous as our Kiwi online casino. Right now, there are around 300 startups developing cutting edge electric flying vehicles, passenger drones, sky cycles and commercial jet packs!
An era of autonomous urban aircraft with on-road capabilities is already upon us. Just this year, the AirCar – a sporty roadster with foldback wings and pusher propellor – successfully completed a 35-minute inter-city flight in Slovakia. The only factor standing in the way of scaled up operations is… logistics – an issue we thankfully don't have at our Kiwi online casino!
Before we get into the challenges facing the nascent industry, let’s take a brief look at the history of personal air vehicles. Where did it all start?
Well, you are forgiven for thinking a futuristic concept like a flying car – as with our fully responsive Kiwi online casino, Springbok Casino – would belong to the high-tech 21st century. That, however, is not the case.
Guys like Henry Ford and Waldo Waterman were among the first people to design and develop automobiles that could fly… in theory, in any event. That puts the first viable airborne automobiles into the mid to late 1940s.
Waterman’s creation, in particular, was pretty impressive – though not necessarily all that practical. Powered by a Studebaker engine and with a 12-metre wingspan, the Arrowbile had a top speed of 90 kph on the ground and double that in the air!
The likes of the CoVair Car, Taylor AeroCar and Airphibian, with its detachable wings, followed and luminaries like Charles Lindbergh were hired to perform test flights. Even the United States Army came up with the concept of ducted fan-based flying jeeps… but that idea didn’t fly!
Most of the early flying cars were basically car chassis attached to a set of propellors and wings. One rather unfortunate innovator decided to buck the trend and welded the back end of a Cessna Skymaster to a Ford Pinto. The craft did get off the ground… but, unsurprisingly, disintegrated in mid-air.
In more recent times, aerospace giants like Boeing, Japanese automotive manufacturer, Toyota, and global ride hailing service, Uber, have developed sophisticated battery powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles suitable for the mass market. The question is… is the market ready for them?
German start-up, Volocopter, is another self-proclaimed “first commercially certified air taxi in the world”. Although flight tests are not complete, they’re aiming to unveil their VTOL, called VoloCity, at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Whether you’ll actually be able to hail the cab to get to and fro the games remains to be seen…
In terms of rolling out air vehicles as people carriers, the most pressing challenge is developing the infrastructure and air management systems required to keep both the machines and the low-alutitude skies safe and optimally functional.
Without dedicated take-off and landing areas, regulated routes and places to park and store the craft, the mass adoption of flying cars is a non-starter. It would be a bit like launching Springbok Casino without the software application, customer support system and banking platform!
Congestion on the roads in large cities like London, New York, Toronto and Johannesburg is untenable – and one of the key reasons why so much money is being funnelled into the sky commuter market. Imagine if the skies follow trend and become choked with uncoordinated air traffic?
The problem with developing infrastructure like vertiports, runways, charging or fuelling stations, maintenance facilities and off-peak parking and storage zones is space… or, to be precise, the lack thereof. It is not as if modern world cities are like our Kiwi online casino, where space is infinite and only nominally filled with bits and bytes!
As flying cars are largely considered an inner-city commuting and delivery alternative, all the infrastructure has to be easily accessible and close to the passenger base. That poses problem number one.
The second challenge is creating routes or skyways that are safe, uncontested and free flowing. Low-altitude skies are already chock-a-block with birds, antennae, buildings, helicopters and delivery drones. If the idea is to reduce the cars on the road, there is no point in congesting the skies.
Digital tracking by traffic management systems is one solution, but how are routes safely allocated to service providers – and who monitors compliance and air safety?
One suggestion is airspace auctions where the most attractive skyways are identified and auctioned off to the highest bidder for a defined time period. Everything related to that particular corridor would be pre-negotiated and integrated into the licence – access, rates, transferability, hours of operation and so on.
The hardware component is a little more difficult to solve. Existing infrastructure like under-utilised parking garages and fuel and service stations could be re-purposed for the urban air mobility sector. Rooftops may also be viable VTOL landing pads – so, it is potentially goodbye to rooftop gardens, restaurants and swimming pools.
Developing the infrastructure to support the commercial uptake of flying cars is going to take time, money and creative thinking… and that may be the only reason why flight fare – rather than taxi, bus or train fare – is not destined to be in your next household budget!
In the meantime, we suggest you stay at home, load the best Kiwi online casino onto your desktop or phone and enjoy the highly rated remote gambling action. We’re also accessible from pretty much all current earthbound mass transit systems. So, whether you’re on land, sea or in the air, Springbok Casino features a mobile gaming platform that is optimally functional all around.