But the Moller Skycar efforts look to me to be surfing the wrong initial wave. It feels like a classic case of over-focus on delivering a version 5.0 as the 1st release. Why develop an initial market for Skycars based on passenger transportation? Executing a huge dream is already up against the exponential laws of complexity. Why not push the passenger Skycar to a later-term goal, and 1st develop a completely computer operated sky-van for transporting packages and goods? This would skirt a lot of complexity and issues related to passenger air travel? E.g.:
- No windows.
- Less design dedicated to crash protection and passenger safety.
- Less extra fuel margins of safety.
- Opportunity for ground/rooftop-based launch acceleration. A lot of power & fuel (and design) is needed for take-off. This overhead can be off-loaded to terrestrial launch mechanisms. Examples might include catapults or rapid-descents from high rooftops to achieve more wing-efficient velocities.
- Launch and landing could be sub-optimal locations for passengers, but in lower risk hubs where package/goods delivery could connect with other inter-modal forms.
- Goods delivery is subject to more optimal packing & routing algorithms and opens up some interesting auction mechanics.
- Cheaper, more abrupt emergency/crash mechanisms.
- An easier sell vis-a-vis public perceptions of risk.
- The technology can be proven and scaled in lower-risk areas first.
And in the Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) dimension, how about "the next Tesla" startup being a sky-van? Maybe license components from Moller, Tesla, and the myriad more established industry players like Cessna/Bell Helicopter, Gulfstream, Boeing, et al. Might it make sense to design in modularity, analogous to the "tractor trailer" concept, where the aircraft is separate from the cargo containers?
Disclosure: no positions