July 6, 2017
Self-driving cars have been the futuristic focus of most automakers in the last few years. With the opportunity to cut down car fatalities while providing transportation options to the elderly and disabled, autonomous technology is goose laying the golden eggs for car companies around the world. But that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on innovation for the sake innovation, which is why they’ve started buying up startups with flying car technology in the wings. And today is no different.
Volvo has just announced that they’ve acquired Terrafugia, a Massachusetts-based startup and perhaps the most well-known flying car company out there. The dollar amount of the deal has yet to be disclosed, but considering the fact that this could notably speed up their flying car projects, you can be sure it was no paltry sum.
For some reason, Geely, Volvo’s parent company, is being questioned on the motivations behind the move. But with flying car technology becoming a more pressing market move and Terrafugia having easily the most promising path to completion in their “Transition” prototype, the decision to acquire this company seems like a bit of a no-brainer.
The real question isn’t whether or not flying cars are cool, it’s whether they’re practical. While the self-driving technology discussion is built on a foundation of convenience and safety, flying cars are understandably shrouded in a fog of safety concerns, roadway problems, and futuristic aspirations based on a cartoon from the early 60s. Plus, when one of the most innovative minds in the world isn’t on your side, it can be hard to get things off the ground.
“There is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind force generated will be very high,” said Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla. “If something’s flying over your head and there’s a whole bunch of flying cars going all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation. You’re thinking, ‘Did they service their hubcap, or is it going to come off and guillotine me?’”
While figuring out the bugs of flying cars could take a while, Volvo’s decision to get ahead of the pack could prove lucrative in the future. Because if we’ve learned anything from the evolution of technology in the last few years, it’s that there’s no telling what we could be using to drive in the future.
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