KIRO NIGHTS

KIRO Nights: Can Boeing help create a world where we all drive flying cars?

Jan 25, 2022, 10:05 AM
flying cars...
The 'Pop.up next' concept flying car, a hybrid vehicle that blends a self-driving car and passenger drone by Audi, italdesign, and Airbus is seen at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in 2018. (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

Boeing is “deciding to sink more money into electric air taxis,” as KIRO Nights host Jack Stine puts it. But should we really be aspiring for a world with flying cars?

“I think that this is an awful idea,” Jack said. “The idea that we’re going to have some kind of pristine airway like in ‘Back to the Future 2’ where people are flying in their lane. … I don’t see it happening.”

KIRO Newsradio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan has done a couple different stories on these flying taxis or flying cars. He joked that he envisioned a world more like “Blade Runner” or “The Fifth Element.”

“The difference here being most of the technology, or most of what people are thinking about, is an autonomous vehicle of some sort,” he said. “… We all know we can’t drive for you-know-what with a car on the ground with four tires. You’re trying to tell me that we’re going to put somebody who has no pilot training flying a car? No. Most of this is going to be the autonomous situation.”

“In fact, Boeing is one of several huge companies that are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into this. There are more than 100 companies around the world that are working on this technology,” he added.

One company that Chris has highlighted is from Tacoma, called ZEVA Aero, which is building a personal autonomous vehicle.

Are flying cars the real future of personal travel in the Northwest?

“What Boeing is looking at — and which is more of the industry standard — is kind of a taxi where you have more than just one person being able to use this,” he explained.

The one Boeing is funding is from Wisk Aero, a California based company. It’s a vertical takeoff and landing, so you don’t need a runway.

“Imagine a large drone with a passenger compartment,” Chris said.

“It’s a possibility,” he added about having flying cars that are accessible to the public. “… I think this might happen at some point because there are just too many smart people spending money on this. And there’s a lot of development going on, not only in our region, looking at this as a possibility. Will it happen? I kind of think it might at some point, I’m just not sure how far down the road we are.”

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

KIRO Nights on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to kiro nightsTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 7 pm for KIRO Nights with Jack Stine.

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KIRO Nights: Can Boeing help create a world where we all drive flying cars?