In a talk given at The Boring Company’s event in Los Angeles last week, Elon Musk commented on the nature of safety (or his opinion of the lack of it) in proposed flying cars, quoting the danger of operating a large amount of them in an urban area.
Musk stated: “There will be zillions of these things flying all over the place and, inevitably, somebody’s not going to service their car properly and they’re going to drop a hubcap and it’s going to guillotine somebody.” Musk has criticized flying cars and taxis before, citing noise issues among other reasons that other transportation modes (like his tunneling initiative) might be superior.
Adding context to these comments is important as well – Musk was speaking to his Boring Company fans on the advantages of using tunnels under Los Angeles to alleviate traffic jams, tunnels that could potentially be linked with Hyperloops in the future. Of course, with an initiative like The Boring Company, other modes of transportation, such as flying cars and taxis, serve as competition for Musk.
Why it’s important: The urban transportation industry is by no means monopolized, but the big technology players are making moves to take their piece of this transportation mode – with varying approaches. While Musk’s statement is feasible, and no airborne craft is without any risk for a component failing, companies like BRS Aerospace are adding parachutes to flying taxis to increase safety, among other solutions. Finally, Musk’s boring initiative also has its challenges: the rate of boring is still much slower than what Musk wants, and city infrastructure and approvals must be had to build the miles of tunnel beneath Los Angeles. Flying cars and taxis don’t require roads or tunnels to be built, just vertiports.
- Image // TED