Futuristic movies have painted a world run by artificial intelligence and flying cars. As it turns out, those seemingly fake movie props may actually exist in the coming years.
The logistics of flying cars
CNN reported that Boston-based company Terrafugia announced in 2014 that it was working on designing a car that could fly. In appearance, prototypes of Transition look more like driveable planes, but they can actually cruise by land or sky and fit in your garage.
It may sound like a blast, but a plane and car hybrid doesn't come without plenty of questions. Should owners go to flight school or the Department of Motor Vehicle? How can collisions with planes be avoided? Will you need to get the tires rotated? Is anyone else scared about people flying cars?
"Should owners go to flight school or the Department of Motor Vehicle?"
Many of these looming concerns can't be answered at the moment, as the product is still in the works. But Carl Dietrich, the chief executive and co-founder of the aerospace company, told CNN that the driver might not need much aviation expertise, as the invention may be autonomous.
"Anything that happens on the ground, the person is going to make a call," Dietrich told CNN. "Once you're flying, the actual operation of all the flight control surfaces is going to be computer controlled because, frankly, the computer can do it better than a pilot."
A neck-and-neck race
But this model is just one of several options on the market. It may be a race to the finish to see who can release a flying car first.
According to Forbes, Slovakian company AeroMobil released a prototype of a similar product with stowable wings in 2014. At this year's South By Southwest, CEO Juraj Vaculik explained that the cars may be coming out sooner than expected.
"The point is not only to showcase that it's possible to marry together a plane and a car, but to really commercialize it," Vaculik told CNBC, quoted by Forbes.
Vaculik projected that the flying roadster will come out in 2017, confirmed Forbes. Conversely, Terrafugia's final product is slated to reach completion by 2016. However, the company's latest model the TF-X air cruise won't be released for at least 8 to 12 years, Dietrich told CNN.
Unlike a standard vehicle, these projects rely heavily on technological developments and first-time decisions made by regulators. Because they're so new, flying cars may need to go through additional hoops compared to normal cars.
Then, there's just worrying about where exactly a person can get their flying car serviced. Maybe generations to come will see a suspended gas station or other sky-posted services.