You won’t drive your kids to school because you will fly them to school! Yes, you will fly then. Today the only accessible flight transportation is the helicopter, which is unfortunately also very expensive. Specialists believe that a new mode transportation is on its way: the VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing). These are basically just helicopters, but much, much cheaper and possibly even electric.
The reason helicopters are not very common, is firstly, because of the cost. Helicopter prices can range from 300,000 (USD) to well over 10 million (USD). The cheapest helicopters can only carry one to two passengers and have low mileage. For example, the Robinson R-22 or the Sikorsky S-300 are helicopters that cost around 300,000 USD and can only carry up to two passengers. Secondly, they can only travel around 175 nautical miles on a full tank, in which case, you would be better off just driving. Furthermore, helicopters are extremely loud, due to the propellers rotating at the speed of sound. They can also only land in designated parking.
The new VTOL aircrafts will make much less noise, through the use of many smaller propellers, rather than two larger ones, reducing the sound pollution to fractions of what it was. Because of these smaller propellers, the VTOL aircrafts will also be much cheaper. Instead of a big, heavy, expensive, fuel consuming engine, the VTOL aircrafts will use many smaller, lighter and cheaper electric motors. At this point, the only problem with electric aircrafts will be the flight time. Battery technology is improving every day, and researchers are confident that in the next few years it will improve dramatically, giving way to VTOL transportation.
Another problem that will to be addressed, is that to fly these aircrafts today, you would need a regular helicopter license, which is obviously difficult, and many won’t bother getting. Thanks to recent autonomous car technology advancements, these VTOL aircrafts will most likely fly themselves. This would mean that anyone could buy and use them. Several companies have already begun developing these technologies, including Uber, the car-sharing giant, which has revealed that it will be leasing these types of aircrafts by the mid 2020’s. Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who founded Tesla and Space X, has stated that he too is interested in acquiring businesses that will be producing these products.
Because of this, I can confidently conclude that this technology is within our reach, and that you will all own, or fly in one soon.
by Antoine Delarue