SE Vehicles

Vertiport and logistics practically beg for Flying Car - Part 2

Jun 03, 2018

It seems that I am no longer the only one who is advocating the idea of a 'command module' which is meant to be driven and airlifted! A reputed developer is now considering a modular flying car system, indicating "that rooftop real estate will not be that easy to acquire and vertiports will be farther apart than UBER envisages. This will require (...) a seamless way of transporting passengers longer distances on the ground".* 'Remain seated' is also better from a real estate point of view.

* http://aviationweek.com/future-aerospace/terrafugia-s-alternative-take-electric-vtol

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The pictures below remind me of Syd Mead's sketches of how the automotive future may look like. They were featured at last May's 2nd UBER Elevate conference. I posted them here to start a debate. The two pictures actually illustrate what I have been saying for some time now: the more eVTOL traffic, the bigger the vertiport, the more you will become dependent on the car to bring you to and from the vertiport and eVTOL, and the bigger the walking distance between car and eVTOL.

Although these artist impressions ooze the optimism we need for getting eVTOLS off the ground, they also look hugely expensive to construct - which conflicts with making eVTOLs affordable to operate. They are all based on the concept of keeping cars and eVTOLs separate. Below a picture of what I have in mind. Shopping malls are already located at strategic places. Many of them feature large flat roof surfaces, which can be used to park cars and install solar panels. It is easy to imagine that they could also function as intermodal vertiports, where lightweight road vehicles arrive to hook onto an airfoil/rotors assembly in order to takeoff, or vice versa, these modular flying cars land, disconnect from the airfoil/rotors assembly and continue the voyage as road vehicles (see previous page). The whole real estate aspect will be much easier and cheaper to realize, no doubt.

Shopping malls (office centers) already have an economic function; an intermodal vertiport may come on top of this, literally... and economically. This may well be subject of mall redevelopment and diversification too. What about eVTOL parcel delivery and distributing point? Amazon is already considering this. Nearly every shopping center is doomed to decline at some point in its history. In fact, the term 'dead mall' has become part of the vocabulary. 'Dead mall' is the term for a shopping mall that feels lifeless, has many vacant storefronts, and lacks the traffic to incite excitement and a positive sales vibe.

Ralph Panhuyzen, sevehicle@gmail.com

Click on NEXT to read why and how seamless '2D and 3D' transit can be as disruptive
as the personal communication revolution

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