Anxiety about the safety of a new generation of flying cars is that they are ill-suited to both drive on streets and effectively maneuver in the air. Combining the technologies to do both in one vehicle has proved almost impossible. Leading research university Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believes it has a solution.
According to MIT News:
Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are aiming to develop robots that can both maneuver around on land and take to the skies. In a new paper, the team presented a system of eight quadcopter drones that can fly and drive through a city-like setting with parking spots, no-fly zones, and landing pads.
The vehicle has several motors and an extended battery life. Researchers pointed out that their prototype is hardly advanced enough to be turned into commercial products.
The technology does show there is a chance that eventually flying cars can be a part of mainstream transportation. The product has been a dream of scientists for decades. Current versions are expected to incorporate the functions of autonomous vehicles and energy sources like electric engines and solar-powered propulsion.
MIT’s foray means that other universities and research centers will tackle similar products. They are in a race with commercial enterprises, which eventually may include the major car manufacturers. For the time being, however, the focus of auto companies is fully electric cars with long ranges on a single charge, and cars people can ride in without paying any attention to the road.