Travel’s future may be found in the skies

With names like BlackFly, these contraptions may have a long way to go before they become commonplace, but their proponents are bullish about the future. | Screencap via opener.aero

I wrote a column this winter about the future, focusing on the advancements made in producing meat from cells in a lab rather than from animals on a farm.

While moaning about how our expectations for the future had been raised too high while we were kids, I wondered what ever happened to flying cars.

“I watched them zipping around on The Jetsons as a kid and couldn’t wait for the future,” I wrote.

“Instead, all we got were social media trolls, reality TV and really expensive phone plans.”

Well, I might have been a bit hasty because it seems the bright lights of cutting-edge technological research are spending billions of dollars trying to make flying cars a reality.

They’re not exactly flying cars — more like small electric aircraft that can take off and land without a runway.

According to the New York Times News Service, dozens of companies are working on these airborne vehicles, and three of them are taking themselves public to the tune of US$6 billion.

With names like BlackFly, these contraptions may have a long way to go before they become commonplace, but their proponents are bullish about the future.

One company has designed a single-person aircraft for use in the country, what the New York Times described as “essentially a private flying car for the rich.”

Others are thinking more along the lines of air taxis. In fact, some folks see a direct correlation between the push for driverless vehicles and the research into flying cars. They expect that pilotless air taxis will eventually be the face of the flying car universe.

There are skeptics of course, but one really gets the sense that the genie may be out of the bottle here. Like driverless cars, it may seem like fanciful science fiction right now, but there’s also a feeling that this just might be the real deal. A few years away, perhaps, but real.

So what’s in it for farmers? I’d say a lot.

The possibilities are endless, whether you’re scooting through the sky to check a grain bin a few kilometres away or zipping over to a hard-to-reach pasture to sneak a peek at the herd.

And that invitation from the neighbours to drop by for an evening refreshment? Hopefully you wouldn’t be literally dropping in, but you get the idea.

Jetsons, here we come.

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