This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 3, 2001

Fly Your Car

When you're sitting in those traffic jams, don't you wish you could just literally rise above the trouble and leave that congestion behind? Realization of that dream may not be that far away!

Yes, we're talking about cars that fly! It's called "Skycar" and it's a reality. The two-seater version has been tested about 200 times and the four-passenger model is in the testing phase now. Skycar is a product of the Moller Corporation,, based in California. Visitors to the company's web site can purchase tee shirts, videotapes, posters, and even make arrangements to place an order. Skycar will have to jump, or fly, through a number of regulatory hoops before it comes on the market.

Skycar will run on unleaded gasoline, at the rate of fifteen miles per gallon. After a vertical take-off, the vehicle will travel at 350 miles per hour. Navigation is by a Global Positioning System, so you don't have to be an aeronautical engineer to pilot the craft.

You'll drive to a nearby take-off area, type in the coordinates of your destination, and push the button. The computers will do the rest, so you can just sit back and read the paper or chat with colleagues on your digital cellular phone.

As we understand the technology, Skycars will travel in channels in the sky, much like a system of air-conditioning ducts. Initial users will probably be the military and corporate executives. Even with an anticipated high price, Skycars could provide a desirable alternative to corporate jets. They'll still cover a lot of ground quickly, but will be able to land much closer to specific destinations. Let your imagination play with the possibilities and you'll dream up all sorts of applications.

For those of us who will stay on the ground, similar GPS technologies may be practical to manage traffic on superhighways. With a more controlled flow, we could eliminate a lot of that stop-and-go driving. A new mode of public transportation could emerge-perhaps smaller buses, larger than vans, that will serve as an alternative to mass transit and individual automobiles.

Comments from our readers:

First, about the SkyCar item in this week's alert: I'd heard about that, but the thought of elevating all my nearby NJ drivers 500 feet above the ground, thus turning their road rage into air rage, is more than I can fathom!

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