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A flying vehicle makes its inaugural flight at Tokyo Big Sight on Friday. The vehicle developed by LIFT Aircraft of the United States and driven by one person flew about 10 meters above the ground. Image: Kreab
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'Flying car' makes Tokyo debut at international tech event

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Flying vehicles are expected to become part of the next generation of human transportation and will be effective in dealing with traffic congestion and delivering supplies to disaster areas, the Tokyo metropolitan government and other organizers said.

No, nobody with a mind expects flying vehicles to become anything. People cannot handle a 2D road, flying is out of the question. Even if you put a robot in charge, no, as the dangers will be too high. A collision in mid air? Hitting a building?

15 ( +26 / -11 )

"I want more people to experience this cutting-edge technology," Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said at a ceremony for the maiden flight. "I look forward to flying cars becoming a normal means of transportation."

All signs point to no.

A scaled up drone, single seat, unnecessarily complex.

A toy for the wealthy rentier who cannot yet afford their own helicopter.

A good symbol, mascot for the Expo boondoggle though.

14 ( +22 / -8 )

Flying vehicles are expected to become part of the next generation of human transportation and will be effective in dealing with traffic congestion and delivering supplies to disaster areas, the Tokyo metropolitan government and other organizers said.

I regret to remember how incompetent delivering supplies to disaster areas already is now

Curious how one of these flyers vehicles will hold up in rough weather

I want more people to experience this cutting-edge technology,"

Is it a combustion engine or electric or what ?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

"I look forward to flying cars becoming a normal means of transportation."

Agree with Gov. Koike on this one.

No more traffic jams which will be a huge benefit! Hopefully we will all be in self-flying vehicles within the next 10-15 years. The commute to the office - for those that cannot work from home - will be an ease.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Very cool, is it made in Japan? No.

The Hexa, manufactured by U.S. firm Lift Aircraft Inc, has 18 propellers attached to the top of its single-seat passenger cabin. It is 4.5 meters wide, 2.6 meters high and weighs around 196 kilograms

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Fightoo, Japan roads are only about two lane ,in the Houston area they have the Beltway 8,it encircled Houston for 30 miles , Japan roads are like alleys compared to US roads Google Beltway 8

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

An expensive too much machinery just for a single person.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Fightoo, Japan roads are only about two lane ,in the Houston area they have the Beltway 8,it encircled Houston for 30 miles , Japan roads are like alleys compared to US roads Google Beltway 8

Which is exactly why these personal flying vehicles will be perfect for Japan - and will be common in the skies within a decade.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I thought it was an Osprey.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

No, nobody with a mind expects flying vehicles to become anything. People cannot handle a 2D road, flying is out of the question. Even if you put a robot in charge, no, as the dangers will be too high. A collision in mid air? Hitting a building?

Its coming, and within 5 years.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

All signs point to no.

A scaled up drone, single seat, unnecessarily complex.

A toy for the wealthy rentier who cannot yet afford their own helicopter.

The same thing was said about cars in the 1920's

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

YrralToday  07:26 am JST

Fightoo, Japan roads are only about two lane ,in the Houston area they have the Beltway 8,it encircled Houston for 30 miles , Japan roads are like alleys compared to US roads Google Beltway 8

I have just come back from Houston and the reason they have 5 lanes is for the people who can't drive! They need that may lanes! :)

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The same thing was said about cars in the 1920's

And electric cars in the 80s/90s.

I remember a kid in my class at school being laughed at when he predicted electric cars would be commonly used in the future.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Bit disappointed that they didn't make their debut 10 years ago. After watching Back to the Future 2 in the late 80s I hoped that we'd have them by 2015. Glad to see they made their debut.

Its coming, and within 5 years.

I hope so mate.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

If it's not street legal, it's not a car. It looks more like a drone on roids.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

They will evolve. They will hold more people and be a common thing no one thinks about, like cars today. And like the first cars, they will evolve into something better.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I do not think we will be seeing them flying around in cities in the near future. It is highly likely you will need a pilot or other similar licenses to fly it. Then there are regulation, insurance, liability issues etc.

However, that does not mean it is useless. Emergency responders like parametic or police can have a few of these so they can beat all the traffic and get to the accident site quicker.

By the way, there is already something very similar to this. It is called "ultralight helicopter".

10 ( +11 / -1 )

For those saying that this contraption will become a common mode of public transportation in Japan in five years, you must be partaking in whatever in whatever Koike is and not really up to date on tech trends.

I would bet a considerable amount that the emergence of an Artificial Superior Intelligence perfecting affordable fusion power and designing fusion powered lift vehicles like in Back to the Future is a more likely future.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Definitely really cool, but I would call it a flying chair, not a "car".

10 ( +11 / -1 )

My biggest concern is that like all the recent disruptions (ABnB, Uber etc.), they all startout illegal then legacy industries adopt the new relaxed laws.

ABnB totally broke town planning, AND international innkeepers laws, causing excessive housing costs and homelessness throughout the world. But somehow it's legalized.

Similarly taxis have always been heavily regulated, now the standards for taxi trips have dropped causing safety and excessive charges, even scams all over the world.

Do we want the FAA to be toothless too?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, NO!

The first electric cars pre-date the internal combustion engine. But, they failed because of physics & chemistry.

The current electric cars are much better, but still fail for the same reasons. They are fine if you are wealthy enough to have one as a novelty/short distance grocery-getter.

This flying contraption is amusing but impractical in the real world.

Nope!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

LOL this aint a flying car - it's a kind of helicopter. For a start a car would have enclosed space. What next - showing robots and saying their human staff?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

“”Cutting edge technology”

No.

There are already many versions of this drone around and have been for several years.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It’s like an episode of ‘This is what the future looks like’ from the 1960s. Not impressed.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

That’s not a Delorean.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said at a ceremony for the maiden flight. "I look forward to flying cars becoming a normal means of transportation."

She has the infantile mind and shallow vision that every successful politician needs. Flying cars will be immediately weaponized by governments to patrol, surveil and control. Freedom? End of! Oh, and anti-government rebels will be able to operate them, too (might work to keep government misrule in check?). And it's a no brainer that flying cars for use by the general public would create a waking nightmare of anxiety every time we step outside or even lie in our beds at night. This will be a world I have no desire to be a part of.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This thing is just idiotic. This looks about like where prototype development for a flying car would have been in about 1998 or so.

Why this stupid thing will never replace cars:

1) can hold only one person. Even motorcycles can hold two.

2) No storage space, plus there are probably strict weight limits on what it can carry. Good luck going grocery shopping in one.

3) 18 propellers equals 18 potential points of failure, 18 moving parts that will likely require constant maintenance.

4) 4.5 metres wide means it is over twice as wide as a normal car, meaning the amount of parking space these things which carry only one person is going to be massive. Where the hell is Tokyo or any other city going to park these stupid things if they become mass adopted?

5) Not sure but I’m guessing the energy requirements of these things are huge too, given the need to lift people off the ground and all.

6) Minor accident = fall from fatal height.

7) Traffic control?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Not a car, flying or otherwise. A child on a bycicle would travel along the road faster.

This is a single seat multi engine/motor copter.

I would love to think personal flying devices are in my future, but that would be a lie. I will never own or fly in one because they wont be available in my lifetime.

And please stop calling them cars, they dont use roads as cars do. Might as well call them flying boats. Just as acurate.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Come on, the country of endless rules and restrictions, and signs reminding you of them, is gonna suddenly allow its citizens to fly around the cities in contraptions like that. Yeah right! But I am sure it will allow for the formation and financing of endless expert panels for a few years.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Kinda hard not looking conspicuous going shopping in that thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone had a flying car?

It would be like aerial dogfights during WWI.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think that’s called a helicopter ?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Impressive innovation, however I would rather all wheels were firmly on the ground especially ordering from a drive through.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think Emergency Medical Services should look into this.

A Flying Medic Team might be able to get to people injured in areas that are not readily accessible by ambulances and fire engines.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Flying vehicles are expected to become part of the next generation of human transportation and will be effective in dealing with traffic congestion and delivering supplies to disaster areas, the Tokyo metropolitan government and other organizers said.

This is utter grotesque nonsense. No way this will become any time soon if ever a realistic mode of transportation with mass transit. This demo looks grotesque, low tech and poorly thought. This is just gimmicky.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Very cool, is it made in Japan? No.

It hardly matters. Given the West’s myopic inability to properly think these things through, others will be happy to sit back and allow Western taxpayers to shoulder developmental costs. The technology will then be stolen, copied, bought out and further developed behind high protective walls, commercialized, then eagerly lapped up by complacent Western consumers, seduced by too good to be true prices enabled by industrial policies predicated on the assumption that business is war.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is just a helicopter in a new skin. It is in no way a car, we are never ever going to see these on the roads. I do see applications in say medical helicopters. But the they’d need to scale up to carry a pilot, equipment, medical staff and a space for a prone patients.

military applications are there, but that’s the same as a helicopter or a light spotter plane or a drone in todays world.

Disaster areas are possible but these are too small. Payload would need to be increased as would the number of people it could carry. Firefighting is another possibility but again these are done by helicopters or heavy aircraft. It’s a businessman trying to re-invent the helicopter and there is no way we can call this a mode of transportation except for the rich, and niche markets.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It may be useful for military operations.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

These types of vehicles are no more "flying cars" than Little Nellie, James Bond's one-man mini-copter in You Only Live Twice, or the Gyro-Copter in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior were flying cars. It's just a small helicopter.

Flying cars are what they had in Blade Runner or The Jetsons.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just my observation but I don't see that as being a car, it just has landing wheels? It is an obvious way to incorporate a bunch of propellers like a helicopter. From my perspective it looks very dangerous if it hit anything with the propellers directly or the propellers broke up and flew off like projectiles. I would expect a very high insurance hurdle.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is an excellent technological achievement. It demonstrates the power, efficiency and cleanliness of electricity. If electrical vehicles can be used in the air then they certainly can and should be used on the ground, all the more so.

The management of traffic and the dense allocation of space-time will be accomplished in the future by centralized computing.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Is that thing safer than an osprey?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is that thing safer than an osprey?

Yes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Wait! I'm confused. I thought we were supposed to be worried about global warming!?! Flying takes a lot more energy than rolling along on wheels. How are we to reconcile personal flying vehicles with SDGs?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wait! I'm confused. I thought we were supposed to be worried about global warming!?! Flying takes a lot more energy than rolling along on wheels.

But does it cause more pollution?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

151E: Consuming energy is not a problem. Consuming bad energy is a problem.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

No, nobody with a mind expects flying vehicles to become anything. People cannot handle a 2D road, flying is out of the question. Even if you put a robot in charge, no, as the dangers will be too high. A collision in mid air? Hitting a building?

Meh, give it a hundred years or so, I'm sure AI will be able to handle the complexities of flight. Besides, humans will likely be irrelevant (or extinct) by then, anyway...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lots of things to consider. Will there be designated take-off and landing areas? The air displaced to achieve lift will make these noisy and send any dust and debris flying about, making a hazard for any pedestrians nearby. When crossing paths, which vehicle will have right of way? How will these vehicles behave in wind shear and poor flight conditions?

Personally, I think it would be best if flying cars were limited to ambulance at first.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So if say, 2 to 3 thousand are sold in a year,has any one actually thought about where they will parked, and it will certainly not be in the center of any cities or towns. So their owners will have to park way outside of suburban areas and ......drive a car to get to where they want. So yes, really creative...not!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am surprised why a technologically advanced country such as Japan is not already having autonomous, electric, non-polluting, flying cars streaking it's skies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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