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While some people may have their doubts as to whether or not flying cars will ever truly get off the ground, at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 some big names have thrown their weight behind the concept as the future of transportation.

Aviation

Notable Tech Investors Say Flying Cars Are The Future

While some people may have their doubts as to whether or not flying cars will ever truly get off the ground, at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 some big names have thrown their weight behind the concept as the future of transportation.

The level of interest and investment in flying cars is continually growing. Recently we’ve reported on the significant funding that both Lilium ($101.4m) and Volocopter ($29.46m) have received to develop their VTOLs, not to mention other major players such as Uber and their Uber Elevate project, and the recently announce Passenger Drone. While some people may have their doubts as to whether or not flying cars will ever truly get off the ground, at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 some big names have thrown their weight behind the concept as the future of transportation.

German innovator and computer scientist Sebastian Thrun is regarded as one of the main minds behind the concept of autonomous driving, so he’s a man who knows a thing or two about futuristic transportation. Reportedly, he spent a lot of time talking about flying cars at the conference. According to TechCrunch, Thrun said “I can’t envision a future of highways [and being] stuck in cars. I envision a [future] where you hop in a thing, go in the air, and fly in a straight line. I envision a future where Amazon delivers my food in the air in five minutes. The air is so free of stuff and is so unused compared to the ground, it has to happen in my opinion.”

China OEMs are buying in

Being able to envision something is a lot different than it becoming a reality, and there are plenty of historical examples of far-out ideas that don’t make it too far off the drawing board before petering out. But what’s different about flying cars is the sheer number of people and amount of resources that are being plowed into the technology. GGV’s Jenny Lee is another notable name that was commenting on the future of flying cars, specifically relating it to China as a huge market and possible driving force in the movement.  “I do want to highlight that there’s going to be huge disruption within the transportation ecosystem in China. Cars going from diesel to electric. China has about 200 million install base of car ownership. In 2016, only 1 million cars are electric. The Chinese government hopes to install 5 million parking lots that are electric… Even the Chinese OEMs are buying into flying taxis.” Lee said.

Of course, even when the technological challenges of fully functioning flying cars are overcome, there are still hurdles to jump before we can start seeing them in the skies. One of the original investors in SpaceX, Steve Juvertson, highlighted a main issue, even though he sees the arrival of flying cars as a given. “It feels like an inevitability. The problem I have in making any statement of when is the regulatory environment is completely unclear… The FAA has been cautious throughout.”

It seems like all eyes are now on this race for the skies, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch it unfold.

 
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The Beam Magazine is a quarterly print publication that takes a modern perspective on the energy transition. From Berlin we report about the people, companies and organizations that shape our sustainable energy future around the world. The team is headed by journalist Anne-Sophie Garrigou and designer Dimitris Gkikas. The Beam works with a network of experts and contributors to cover topics from technology to art, from policy to sustainability, from VCs to cleantech start ups. Our language is energy transition and that's spoken everywhere. The Beam is already being distributed in most countries in Europe, but also in Niger, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Japan, Chile and the United States. And this is just the beginning. So stay tuned for future development and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Medium.

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