If you look to the sky, you likely won't see many flying cars whizzing over your head. However, this fact hasn’t stopped New Hampshire from passing a law allowing flying cars to legally take to the roads, setting a new precedent for the next wave of futuristic transport.
House Bill 1182 states that non-traditional motor vehicles have the freedom to use existing roads to drive around, preparing themselves for the possibility of flying cars. None are on the market right now, so these laws are looking to the future. It has been nicknamed the "Jetson Bill" in a nod to a 1960s sitcom called The Jetsons that featured space-age flying cars.
These flying cars won’t be able to take-off and land on the roads. Instead, you’ll have to use an airport and then connect to the road system to drive to where you need to go like us normal folk.
“If you’re driving down the highway you won’t see some unusual air-craft like device coming behind you,” Jeff Rapsis, executive director of the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, said when speaking to New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR). “While on the road it will behave very much like a normal car.”
Flying cars won't need to be parked in airports and can stay in your driveway like a normal, road-dwelling vehicle. Their speed to destinations will surely be unmatched by regular cars, and let's be honest — they're just so, so cool.
Users will need to perform safety checks in line with regular aircraft, such as getting annual mechanical inspections by licensed professionals. Pilots must also be licensed, receive annual physicals, and the FAA-registered vehicles must have license plates.
Consumer-ready flying cars have long been the goal for many engineers. According to Rep. Sherman Packard speaking to NHPR, this law has been in the works for a decade.
“We knew at some point it was going to come,” Packard stated. “It just happened to come this session.”
A number of flying car projects are currently in the flight-testing stage. The Samson Switchblade can be reserved now, the Pal-V is ready for purchase, and many more projects are on-going at the moment. According to Uswitch, out of 101 projects that are in development right now, over one-third are in the process of testing their flight capabilities. Even better, they could cost just $123,000 (£95,000), undercutting most high-end sports cars that are stuck on the ground.
But you won’t just need to be a high-flyer that spends hundreds of thousands on cars to take to the skies – Uber Elevate's flying taxis (which are not flying cars so much as vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) could be launching as early as 2023.
So whilst the New Hampshire law seems premature, within our lifetimes commercial flying cars could be coming to a road near you. You might not see cars take off and skip traffic jams at will, but with the flying car industry worth an estimated $1.5 trillion by 2040, many more states and countries may follow suit.
[H/T: New Hampshire Public Radio]