I’ve often asked myself why the flying cars we were promised in science fiction haven’t happened yet.
Some of the world’s great technology and engineering companies have made significant and admirable strides in making them happen. The eVTOL (electrical vertical take-off and landing sector) is predicted by Morgan Stanley to be worth $1.5trillion by 2040 and Uber, Airbus, and Toyota have all invested heavily. Their focus is rightly on shared transit solutions. The vision is for ‘flying taxis’ to serve hubs in major cities. The benefit to populations in these urban areas cannot be overstated. Their success will liberate cities from congestion with a clean-air, next-generation solution.
Despite the commercial and societal potential of this next great mobility revolution and the great progress already made by the industry, key questions must be answered before we see flying cars above our cities. Racing, as it did at the dawn of the automobile age can answer many of these, namely; performance, safety technology, and awareness. Indeed, history tells us, there is no greater catalyst for progress than raw sporting competition.
A century ago, the motor car was viewed as the aristocracy’s weekend indulgence, a folly unlikely to catch on with the wider public. Those pioneering manufacturers had such a job persuading people that these contraptions could replace horses — they created highly competitive trials across near impassable mountain terrain in Europe to prove their viability. Despite very few ‘horseless carriages’ finishing, the simple sight of automobiles driving through villages captivated and convinced anyone who saw them that the automobile might have a future.