[extropy-chat] Hydrogen cars

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Sat Mar 11 00:50:27 UTC 2006

On a mostly unrelated note, except it's still vaguely about cars, I've
been wondering why they don't fly yet, and what to do about it.

It seems to me (who is flying interstate a lot at the moment - it
sucks!) that there are issues with flying cars (chiefly, how could
people possibly pilot them in crowded airspace? Planes are hard to
fly). But maybe they could be solved for the long haul trips (where
they'd be really useful).

It seems to me that if your car could fly & roll (rotors + wheels?),
you could just use the flying for inter-city travel (aka the Moulton
Aerocar, see here for a picture and some funky effort to make a modern
version: http://www.aerocar.com/ ). To take the human element out, you
would think heavily restricted and predetermined automated flight
paths could work. It'd be like cable cars without the cable - you
drive up to the launch point, the autopilot takes over, and flies you
to your chosen destination (in a big stream of similar vehicles that
are on the same flightpath), lands, and you drive off onto the roads.

There'd be no need to get the autopilot really smart. For example,
avoiding obstacles isn't necessary with a cable car, and it isn't
necessary here, you just have to spend effort to make sure the flight
corridor is always clear. So at best, maybe a panic mode that
automatically lands you wherever you are, or even (or plus) an
ejection/parachute mechanism.

I don't know what flight mechanism you use. Fixed wing seems too
tricky, maybe rotors would be good. You want something that can stop
and hover, gives the autopilot more to work with. But are
helicopter-type vehicles too hard to control with autopilot?


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