Have you seen the new commercial where the car drives itself? It’s so exciting to see the future unfold. I remember watching George Jetson fly around in his car thinking “that’s what my future is going to look like”, but as time ticks on, my future seems to look more like the matrix (or some other post apocalyptic movie) than the cartoon of my childhood past.
While I don’t see myself becoming a car battery in the distant future, I do think that things won’t be the way I always thought they would. Now keep in mind I am presenting you with my wild speculation, but hear me out. Self driving cars have much anticipation and analysts think that within a decade our economy will be hit hard by self driving automation, but I’m not seeing it come from automobiles.
Already we’re seeing homeowners insurance being reduced because of automation and the LA Times has mentioned that self driving cars could flip the auto insurance industry on its head. But that’s not all automation is doing. It’s also giving us software to help on a global scale. A farmer can deploy a drone that will fly over an area miles wide, run the images through an algorithm, and tell the farmer what course of action he must take. Throw that software into a network of drones like they did in the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show, and the sky is the limit!
Amazon has already invested in infrastructure for an air delivery system, including airplanes and even a company to develop their drone delivery service. In addition their ambitious projects are helping to develop regulation that will likely evolve and reshape the aviation industry.
Right now the closest I can get to my dream of flying around the skies like George Jetson is to jump in a helicopter and fly around, but such a dream would be too costly for the average person to achieve. Although they are coming out with automated systems for Helicopters, insurance prices are too high for the technology to make an impact on the aviation industry to favor the consumer. Also, we are a long way off before drones can carry people off into the sunset, but that’s not stopping companies like Ehang from trying.
Now back to my wild speculation. Automated driving systems will make a big impact on our economy and our future, but they will only last a short time. It will be like that 5 minutes you had a pager, and then the cell phone came out. When the line between helicopter and drone disappears, and insurance prices fall (which is a major reason for high aviation costs),we will see prices in aviation fall. Finaly we will see insurance liabilities transfer from the driver or pilot to the automated network provider. We will see the flying car become a reality.
So. Is it a far-fetched childhood dream to have a flying car? No. I may even see it in my lifetime.