It seems like everyone wants to be flying without wings these days, and some big players in the autonomous car industry want a piece of that airborne action. Google co-founder Larry Page just invested in flying car startup Kitty Hawk, while Uber is adamant that its own-brand of flying vehicles will be zooming around the US come 2020.
I mean, who wouldn't want to be ferried around in their own flying car, Back To The Future-style? Imagine: cruising above the clouds, avoiding traffic jams ... bliss! But what if something went wrong?
It's no surprise that a poll conducted by Michigan's Transportation Research Institute found that not everyone wants a flying car. Mostly for the reasons that you'd expect. Researchers at the Michigan facility Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle found that out of a total of 508 respondents — 48 percent men and 52 percent women — only 41 percent wanted to own a modernized version of the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Although 44 percent said they would ride a driverless flying taxi, safety was the biggest concern of the majority of Sivak and Schoettle's respondents. 63 percent, to be exact, with most everyone saying these cars should come equipped with parachutes.
The majority of respondents also said they preferred a vertical take-off, like a helicopter in lieu of a landing strip.
Another interesting aspect of the survey was the fact that men were more enthusiastic (or reckless, whatever word you prefer!) about the new flying technology than female respondents. Another big surprise ... Not.
Before you get all defensive of men versus women and their driving ability, remember that it has been PROVEN — yes, proven — that men take more risks on the road. So why would the air be any different? This survey is a case-in-point, as more than half of the male respondents (52%) felt positive about flying car technology, compared to 38 percent of women.
Anywho — moving swiftly on from the battle of the sexes — last month's survey also found that people, for the most part, wanted the flying vehicle to seat 3 to 4 people, while 41 percent wanted it to fly for a minimum of 400 miles before being recharged/refueled.
Hopefully, high fliers (geddit?) like Uber and Kitty Hawk will take these concerns into account as their driverless development continues. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!
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