Since we recently published what appears to be Mobility Lab’s first-ever article on flying cars and whether they could ease East Coast traffic, it’s very convenient that a new survey details what people think about these Jetsons-like transportation options.
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released a new survey this week on this very topic. “A Survey of Public Opinion About Flying Cars” asks about a variety of things, some of which, I confess, never would have occurred to me. Among the topics: “likely benefits, major concerns, preferred source of energy, desirable minimum range, amount of flight-training required, takeoff and landing requirements, seating capacity, affordability, and overall interest in operating or using such vehicles.”
Perhaps the strangest finding is that only 65 percent of respondents are “familiar with the concept” of flying cars. My question is, once you hear the term “flying car,” what exactly remains mysterious about the concept? Seems like it’s all right there in the name.
As to the most likely benefit, the overwhelming pick was “shorter travel time,” with 75 percent (the next highest was “fewer crashes” at 10 percent). This also makes me wonder what people are thinking. The fundamental rule of traffic is that, as long as using roads is free, the number of cars will expand to fill the available roadways. Why wouldn’t the same hold true of airways? Why wouldn’t the advent of flying cars just recreate congestion in three dimensions?
… Finally, people generally prefer that both personally owned and shared (“taxi-like”) flying cars be fully autonomous, i.e., self-driving and -flying. Intriguingly, support for full automation goes up with age and is highest among those 60+.