When General Motors recently announced at CES, a Cadillac Evie tall, electric, vertical takeoff or landing vehicles, not even a flying car, it's just a flying vehicle.
It took a lot of folks by surprise, not that it's new in the auto industry.
A number of car makers are planning or dabbling and doing one of these But it's the fact that now so many of them are that is so interesting, and I still don't get it.
So I had to get another take on this.
So I thought who do I know who's a dyed in the wool car guy and a pilot and a flight instructor and a former air traffic controller and a big buff of flying cars, who does a podcast all about them.
That's Charlie Vogel Haim.
So what am I not getting about flying?
And this isn't even a flying car that GM is showing.
It's a flying, you know, personal transportation thing.
Why does this not calculate for me?
What am I missing?
So I am very excited about it.
As you mentioned, I have a commercial pilot's license, been a career in aviation.
So the words flying cargo together, we've have lightweighting.
We have electric power.
We have autonomous.
And so this all comes together to the way of perhaps, you know, turning us up into the air and saying we can get there quicker we can get there faster we can possibly even get there safer.
And the reason that is is because there's so much more room up there that said if you do have a problem, you don't just pull over to the side of the road.
You have that whole gravity thing working against you.
Yeah, there's that.
Where your floaties you do that that's always there even over water.
Thanks for pointing that out.
That would be science and and by the way, Mary Barra when she gave her presentation about General Motors at CES today, she used the word science and climate change in the same sentence which I thought was fantastic.
We're still thinking about you know, when we're talking about vehicles of this size to four or even six people relatively small.
So it doesn't really solve a lot of issues in terms of absolute transportation, in terms of congestion and things like that.
What I'm excited about though Brian is I'm excited about Possibility and let's roll that out in ways that do make sense for time really is a factor whether it's ambulatory or rescue, or something like that.
Let's get these things going back in 2018 Intel did their first drone show at CES and they coordinated it with the fountains at the Bellagio.
I got to tell you it was a moment for me as a pilot worried about the sky and also did a stint with the FAA as an air traffic controller.
So I understand the challenges that we're going to have making these guys more crowded.
But I watched these literally hundreds of drones moving around each other in a coordinated fashion and not bumping into each other because of sensors and.
And coordination that they can embed in these devices.
Boy you talking about though, would you climb into one of these vehicles without a pilot or somebody at the helm?
And then also when we talk about autonomous once again when i say light weighting being so very important, If you're going to have a pilot on board.
My gosh, that's taken up a passenger seat, which, you know, for Cedar that's 25% general motors showed a two seater.
That would be half the capacity, just with a pilot.
And again, you know, unlike Uber, Lyft, and some of these other services that we have.
Just having a driver's license doesn't put you in a in a pilot's seat.
I could see these kinds of vehicles whether it's this Cadillac one or others, taking the super elite, private aviation customer market and bringing it down a little.
I don't see it taking the average transportation market and taking it to the skies.
No, I think you're correct, there is, and I've seen the math, I've seen the projection back in the day, Uber Elevate would have an annual event, that we attended, they were doing the math based on their own algorithms, and learnings, as a shared rider provider.
One of the down sides to To these Eevee tolls or to, again aircraft taking around it's point to point.
Now the General Motors did not have a very big footprint if you notice that so it's possible it could come closer to your house, but it's not landing at your house at your driveway.
Possibly, but probably not the way it's just so, I know where you live so I know that it could land in front of your place.
If you've got a big enough house, you can land it in your driveway, see the elite thing it keeps coming back to that.
The possibilities again, it doesn't really do last.
It does last mile but not last couple 100 yards.
Not last block for exam.
Interest years ago I dabbled around down at the Van Nuys Airport and I thought I'm gonna take helicopter lessons and I started taking a few.
And I, you know, when I stopped is when the instructor looked at me and said, Yeah, you're probably about 14 lessons away from soloing.
I can't imagine soloing.
So I stopped.
I can't imagine getting into a vehicle that's gonna take me up in the air without a pilot there either.
I have the same kind of no, that's just disbelief and I'm out.
Autonomy and flying seems to me like a much bigger jump in autonomy and driving.
Yes it is and to the extent if you do have a problem that needs to but you know you can have some fail safes built in, you know short of a ballistic parachute, you could have some you know, could come down to the earth in a gradual way was very well I guess like that sounds like in the in the unlikely event of a water landing In the unlikely event that the propeller stops spinning, there's obviously you know, when you get into lightweighting One of the concerns of course is is a bird strike or something like that is the aircraft become more fragile and or really bad weather like, you know, hailstones and things like that.
The interesting dichotomy here Is in aviation, the bit when the weather gets bad or gets worse.
We really start depending on the automated systems.
It's really the auto pilots and all the systems that are built in that said, with a car, I'm driving what I think is a very competent system the other day and start.
It's raining very hard and I just have some ADA s systems.
And because their camera base it says they're no longer functioning because it's raining really hard.
No but that's the opposite on the ground.
I'm thinking okay, that's not right because I This is one I really could use some of this automation.
I don't need so much help when the weather is beautiful on the road.
Where are you in the chat when the conditions get challenging and we know statistically that that's when drivers start to **** up with bad vision, poor brake modulation, all kinds of stuff.
And quite frankly, you do have a little bit more room in the air, and I mean that you were not able to shoulder with a big rig on the highway, or something like that.
You've got a couple 100 feet, you can move around, and obviously, you don't want that much going on, but a little bit of wiggle room.
I think a lot that the consumer drone market out there, these DJs and the other, and millions of people have these and everyone who's flying.
One of those I think, is getting a little taste of essentially what Cadillac and all these other Evie tall folks are rolling out, which is it's just a bigger version of that.
And notice how robust and incredibly hard to upset.
A consumer drone is there really an absolutely amazing and that's for a few $ 100.
But your point is that they're stable, they're functional, the motors work, there's redundancy, the kind of questions and this is the disappointment.
We're so excited to go to the CS last year.
Hyundai rolls out their vehicle which is amazing and again it was a surprise last year.
As this General Motors is to a certain extent this year in terms of a flying car, bell showed their next version of the Nexus last year, but you know, the questions become one, you know, what about redundancy?
What did you will this vehicle General Motors would operate on three motors that you just demonstrated to us,
although they've gotten commercial jets down to two engines that can cross the Atlantic.
But that's because one of the engines will take you the whole way.
And so that's [LAUGH] the whole point is and that's why the tails are so big they keep the plane going straight, and a lot of other things.
Come on over and I'll bring out a chart and graph.
Go over the whole thing.
I could use that.
But we'll be able to see the commercial application of some of this.
And as I said, maybe the rescue or emergency applications of some of these.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense for things where you literally cannot get the job done as well, unless you've got an ev tool that can do something that we can't otherwise do get in and get out in a crisis or where it's time sensitive, that sort of thing.
That I can see.
Exactly and then let's put those to work and then learn from it.
Although while Cadillac has made a lot of classic ambulances over the years, I don't think that's actually the market they're aiming for with this.
This is the Cadillac is planning for the future.
General Motors I mean they they changed their logo for crying out loud and Evie and then the stocks went up because of the announcements that Mary made at CES today about.
Not only this but the electrification of the fleet so they are, you know, they're seriously developing and that's the part that makes me very excited about it.
In some you're looking at this market and saying it's got legs but it's still pretty green or are we on the cusp of this thing starting to really accelerate?
Well, yes 2021 again is we're expecting a lot of acceleration.
Here's the first of the announcements.
We're expecting to see some great things coming out of Joby.
You know, based down in Santa Cruz.
They, again recently tying together with Uber elevate also some Toyota investments there.
They're the ones who put together the Hyundai vehicle Hyundai made announcements, not only time to.
The aircraft but to airports and places to for these vehicles to come and go from which is an important part of it.
And this is happening worldwide.
So obviously we have an amazingly safe and well regulated FAA, Federal Aviation Administration here that has set the bar very high.
Nobody's going to go into the air without trying to meet that safety bar here in the United States.
It enables some development to happen and other places that don't have that hurdle to have to reach before they can get into the air and testings not suggesting anybody's doing anything unsafe but they may have some, you know, regulatory issues.
And elasticity is that a word?
Another thing I hate to hear around aviation?
Well, again, certainly, safety is paramount.
And we do wanna make sure that if anybody that does go up there, and we both know that this can be developed, we can be excited about it.
But boy if something carrying the package falls out of the sky, I mean the aircraft itself or something That's gonna give pause to to somebody climbing into a vehicle without without a pilot on board.
I'm feeling a little more like this has got more legs than I thought and I know
Ronnie would bring me around with a with a lot of information.
So I'm still I was pretty surprised to see I mean I think we all were it's like of all the things that Cadillac or General Motors rolled out at CES, they had a lot of you know, early sneak teases And then this one was a real Steve Jobs one more thing.
It's like what, that came out of left field.
Well, again, the term that we've used for years, it's a halo vehicle which you hate to miss.
I'm now about that much more conviced about these autonomous eVTOLS over our urban and suburban skies, we'll see how that unfolds.
You can follow Charlie @FlyingCarShow on Twitter.