Flying cars might not be flitting about our cities yet, but having regulations in place before they are is probably a good thing.
Despite being a joke since before the Jetsons first aired, people can't seem to shake their fascination with flying cars. It seems like every year there are a few more companies either throwing money at the idea or at least doing very expensive-looking renders of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft designed for urban use. Now it seems the government is taking these things a little more seriously, according to a report published on Monday by Reuters.
Specifically, the US Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a set of regulations for the burgeoning sector that some analysts estimate could be worth upwards of over $1 trillion by 2040.
This kind of low-flying aircraft will raise a number of challenges for regulators, not least of which is the fact that many companies developing them are pushing to make them autonomous. The FAA's current regulations are geared towards small conventional aircraft with a pilot. Not adjusting those for new technology would effectively leave a flying taxi-sized hole in the law.
Given the current state of technology and the problems with vehicles on the road, the idea of flying taxis buzzing around busy urban areas at low altitudes still feels far-fetched. That hasn't stopped companies like Airbus, Boeing, Stellantis and Toyota from investing heavily in the research and development of flying cars, but I'm not holding my breath in hopes of seeing them soon.