Move over Doc Brown, there is a new kid in town. A company by the name of AeroMobil has announced that it will be unveiling the AeroMobile Flying car at the Top Marques Monaco car show, later this month. The price and other specs are expected to be released later this week. The car itself was developed a few years ago, but wasn’t ready for release until now. The company has made “hundreds” of improvements to the original prototype. And of course, with this kind of technology, I think you have to. According to reports the vehicle is both a completely integrated aircraft, as well as a fully-functioning four wheel char. And the theory is that by allowing for both usages, people will have the option of which to choose. I often write about having choices and options and why that is a benefit to the market. But I wonder if, in this case, having options is going a bit too far.
If I argue my own point for just a second, then I would say this: having a vehicle that gives you the ability to both fly and drive opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to transportation. If you are stuck in a traffic jam, put out the wings and away you go. If you’re running late, transform into plane mode and get to your destination on time. But then the other side of me is wondering if this is all too much in terms of choice? And is choice, in this case, unnecessary? For example – where are you going that you are in that much of a hurry? Or why couldn’t you have left earlier? I guess my concern with this is not necessarily that we have too many options, but what this one option is going to mean.
In most cases when I talk about choices, I look at it from a consumer perspective. Having the choice between which type of operating system you want to run on your device. That puts the consumer in the drivers seat, so to speak. But when we are looking at the type of vehicle to use, we are limiting what those choices are. People can chose between what type of car they want to drive. Whether it’s a Ford, Mazda, BMW, Tesla or Mercedes, those are choices. Sure, maybe you can’t afford the Tesla, so you opt for a cheaper car. But you’re still choosing a car. In this case you’re choosing a method of transportation, which is typically not an option. Nor is it reserved for the average Joe. In order to become a pilot, you need a lot of training. And rightfully so. Similarly, you need some training to learn to drive a car, but you have a much better guidance system. Say, roads for example.
So how are we verifying the pilots of these vehicles? What kind of airspace are they allowed to occupy? Recently, the City of Toronto limited where drones could fly in it’s airspace. So how would this measure up in an urban setting? How do you land one of these? There are so many questions that I think need to be answered before these become “the norm”. Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of flying cars, and in order to go somewhere with them, we need to start somewhere. But is this too much, too soon? Or is there an appetite for this now? With more and more companies looking into this type of technology, it is only a matter of time before we start to see more of these. But I think we’re a long ways off of these being used in any kind of daily setting. And I mean a long ways off. We are still trying to figure out self driving cars. Which I think is a better goal from a usability perspective, than a flying car. Although, both are incredible if we think about the technological advancements behind these.