Tesla CEO and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has explained why that grand vision of the future, flying cars, may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
On a recent episode of Neil Degrasse Tyson’s podcast Startalk (via Business Insider), Musk explained the practical realities that could stand in the way of the future as portrayed in The Jetsons, Back to the Future, and The Fifth Element.
“If there are flying cars then, well, obviously then you have added this additional dimension where a car could potentially fall on your head and would be susceptible to weather,” he said. “It’s got to be autopilot, but even on autopilot, and even if you’ve got redundant motors and blades, you are still going from near zero chance of something falling on your head to something greater than that.”
He did note that the idea of flying cars is appealing, though, especially since it could alleviate the problem of traffic congestion. He pointed out that city density is very vertically-oriented with skyscrapers and apartment buildings, but then all those people have to share the same horizontal plane for transportation. The solution, though, isn’t flying cars, but something much simpler: tunnels.
“I think if you were to extrapolate that to cars and have more car tunnels, then you would alleviate the congestion completely… and you wouldn’t need a flying car in that case, and it would always work, even if the weather is bad.”