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An Open Letter to Crank Engineers Working on Flying Cars
It's time to give up on your dreams.
Listen up Rotor Boy, we need to talk.
I’ll get right to the point: Flying cars are a bad idea and you should give up on your life’s work.
Yep, just stop. Think about it: Have you ever witnessed a car accident? Or perhaps seen someone do something incredibly dumb and reckless with their regular, non-flying car?
OF COURSE YOU HAVE. Everyone who’s ever been near a street has seen people do wild and crazy shit with their vehicles. The ol’ intertubes are packed with dash cam videos of completely ridiculous driving, because it happens all the time!
Just the other day I was driving home on a residential street, idly watching bland, suburban, single-family homes pass by, when suddenly a ginormous red truck came bursting out from a side street and blasted straight across the road.
It swerved, scraped across the front of the car ahead of me, rode up over the sidewalk, skidded through the dirt, and roared back down into the road away from us.
I said, for lack of any other language to describe my feelings, “HOLY SHIT.”
It was a wild moment. I could barely believe it actually happened. Which brings me to my central point:
CAN YOU IMAGINE THE STUPID RECKLESS SHIT PEOPLE WILL DO WITH FLYING CARS?
Just think about that for a minute. Do you really think we should turn not-flying death machines into flying death machines?
Sure, yes, the concept of flying cars sounds whimsical, amazing, fantastic. It’ll be like The Jetsons! The Utopian Future! The World of Tomorrow! No more traffic jams! Just fly straight to wherever you’re going!
But (and this is key) it won’t be like that.
You might think it’ll be like that because your flying car is intended for rich people. There’s only going to be a few!
But regular cars started out as toys for rich people too, and look how that turned out (bad). Eventually, cheap, mass produced cars gave everyone the chance to go roaring through the neighborhood and smush people’s children and pets.
You think the same thing won’t happen here? It will. Successful technologies get commodified.
That’s why flying cars are a fucking terrible idea: They will fill the formerly friendly skies full of fucking jackass drivers. WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT?
I live near the urban center of a large metro area and I cannot imagine the noise and chaos if everyone who currently drives to work here started flying to work here.
Picture it: Half-awake commuters doing their hair, sipping their coffee, listening to Joe Rogan as they fill the morning sky from all directions. By 7:05 they blot out the morning sun, descending like a plague of hungry locusts upon the city. Except the sound they make isn’t like wee little locusts buzzing their little bug wings. No. It’s more like a thousand legions of Hell’s demons pounding the Thunder Drums of Death at 1000 BPM.
Seems fine, right? We could all just live in sound-proof underground bunkers!
Have you never stopped to think about any practical considerations? Like yeah, we’re making a “flying car”, but everyone will still have to drive to an airport to actually take off, so all this money and time and engineering effort is really just to avoid getting out of your car by the hanger and walking over to your plane.
Please stop it. Please.
It is time to accept that “the dream of the flying car”, as Terrafugia puts it, is a dumb dream. A nightmarish and extremely impractical dream. A dream that, if it succeeded, would ruin the GODDAMN SKY. A dream that, thankfully I suppose, always ends the same way: With a hybrid monstrosity that flies/drives directly into the municipal dump because it’s a bad car AND a bad airplane.
The Jetsons was a cartoon, ok? We’re never going to fly to work from our sky houses while sentient robot slave-maids handle our domestic tasks. Let it go.
Once you do, and you’re laying in bed at night feeling sad because you never created a practical flying car, just picture all the celebrities you saved because they can’t get coked up and crash their Flying Fords into the Hollywood sign. Smile. Rest easy.
You saved us all from the Thunder Drums of Death.
Thank you for your consideration,
P.S. Don’t get any ideas about robot slave-maids either! I’m watching you!