There are a few companies, including aircraft maker Airbus who are competing to be the first to develop vehicles with wings that take off and land vertically – which is in reality a smaller version of helicopters.
Think about the enormous impact of these vehicles, once they of course become a reality, they could change the way we travel dramatically due to their small size and flying capability. It probably would be easy to operate and control. But, since we are accustomed to driving on a flat solid surface, handling a vehicle in the air would pose a great challenge to many of us. Just think about some of the driving we see around us today, are we going to feel safe driving in a flying car, how should I put it, with distracted and risky drivers around and even above us?
But before we get flying cars, there are many obstacles that must be overcome. Is it safe? Regulators will have to be convinced that these cars are safe. Then there is the obstacle of how to handle thousands of new low-flying aircraft over cities without colliding with each other or crashing into buildings and then batteries, how long will it last and what will happen if it’s out of power in the air.
So how close are we to this? Zach Lovering, who heads the Airbus project to develop a flying taxi called the Vahana believes that this will become a reality in 10 years.
I came across a story from TechCrunch, “Forget flying cars — passenger drones are the future”
The writer of this piece makes the point that since Tesla, Google, Uber and other autonomous car makers are within three to five years of commercializing self-driving cars, cars that require no human oversight. Then, all the machine learning algorithms, sensors and safety systems from self driving cars will help to push passenger drones to become a reality.
He argues that compared to cars, drones will face fewer obstacles in the sky and have far more options for evading accidents.
The way these taxis or ride sharing services will work is, just like the Uber app, the passenger will book a drone, which will then fly to the pickup location to get the rider, it will land and take off vertically and then fly to the destination.
This passenger-drone development is further along than we realize. The Chinese company EHang as I highlighted in the first story received clearance from Nevada in June 2016 to test the world’s first passenger drone. The drone can fly at up to 11,500 feet at 63 mph, but only for 23 minutes. A rather short time, but still a good start which will only continue to progress with time.
Now, Uber believes that Uber Elevate, which is an on-demand air transportation service, will be here within a decade to request electric Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft (VTOLs). This prediction from Uber will definitely push other drone makers like Amazon to get into the race of passenger drones.
Now, even if we don’t get the flying cars, it looks like we will get the passenger drone, hey Uber send me my drone.
Tap and go with sunglasses
Soon it appears you can tap and go with your sunglasses, well, not the sunglasses you have right now but ones with WaveShades. WaveShades is a new contactless payment system built into sunglasses. This new venture was started with Australian startup company Inamo, the sunglasses-maker Local Supply and Visa.
The prototype tap-and-go sunglasses are being rolled out ahead of Australia’s Laneway music festivals. So Australians don’t have to worry about taking cards, cash or their wallets with them to the festival.
Local Supply has provided the sunglasses and Inamo has provided the secure NFC payment chip, built into the arm of the glasses.
This new payment system makes sense for those attending the music festival or hitting the beach and can be very handy for those travelling or vacationing.
Thanks for listening.
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