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Story 110 – 2030 – Products Sustainability Innovation

Flying Cars thanks to AI and quantum computers

What the Cabin Scooter was in the 1950s, the Flying Car is in the 2030s

Autonomous driving was yesterday, autonomous flying is today. In the year 2030 the movement in the third dimension gets a clear boost. Whether autonomous or semi-autonomous, the airspace is changing.

The "flying cars" were already a dream of a few enthusiasts and pilots long before, but around the year 2030, two decisive technologies finally come together to give this idea “wings". On the one hand, special high-performance aircraft batteries that weigh very little, and on the other hand the necessary infrastructure for global autonomous flying. Without these technologies, flying for "non-pilots" would be unthinkable, but only two years after the introduction of autonomous driving on Earth, the airspace was prepared and released for it. For many decades, "flying cars" were thought about, which were to be flown like airplanes and occupied by a pilot, similar to a taxi driver. But it soon became clear that the only way for the universal transport of people would be the autonomous "Flying Cars".

Nevertheless, it is not possible without an extended driver's or pilot's license. The requirements, however, are rather rudimentary and refer to emergency measures in which the system lands independently. These should, of course, be communicated in advance so that, in the worst case, the passengers can remain calm.

The five major manufacturers of "flying cars" in 2030 differ essentially in the take-off and landing technologies they use. Three out of five rely on the technology of a vertical take-off aircraft with four or more rotors. Their great advantage is obvious: these models land like helicopters and are similar to drone constructions. The other two manufacturers build "flying cars" that can take off via a very short runway or on the road. These move as vehicles on the ground just like cars and thus boost advantages from car technology, while the models of vertical take-off technology glide over the ground like hovercrafts - i.e. do not drive on wheels. However, they are still included in the "Flying Cars" category because, like autonomous cars, they are usually driven on roads when they do not move through the air. However, the classic autonomous cars, which have grown in size primarily as a result of sharing concepts, will still be the cheaper alternative for some decades to come.

The "flying cars" are all based on a very light aircraft battery with an enormously high energy storage density and a supportive power supply from highly efficient solar cell foils that cover the entire chassis. The electric motors serve the vertical and horizontal drive in the air and are basically a further development of the electric car motors from the 2020s, but now in the fifth generation. Autonomous control takes place via secure networks for air traffic and the connection to national traffic control quantum computers, but the cars are also controlled by an on-board computer in case of network failures and unforeseen landing manoeuvres.

The next ideas are already drawn up by manufacturers of vehicles for autonomous driving and flying. It is expected that the "binary energy source" will replace the aircraft battery between 2050 and 2080. The advantage of this form of energy is that a battery will no longer be necessary. Let's wait and see, for now we fly pilot-free through the air …

The main differences between the five major manufacturers of the "flying cars" lie in their take-off and landing technology. Two manufacturers build models that can take off over a very short runway or even on the road and behave like cars on the ground. The big advantage: technologies from the automotive industry that have already been tried and tested provide a development lead.