Saturday, March 21, 2009

Inappropriate Technology of the Year:The Terrafugia

At last, a Sci-Fi fantasy beloved of every pre-adolescent boy growing up in the 40s and 50s, has been brought to life- a true flying car, the Terrafugia Transition, made by Terrafugia of New York. Follow the title link above to view a photo of the vehicle, which is a two-seater automobile with wings that fold neatly in when the car is to take the street.

The price tag is $194,000- cheaper than a Porsche 911 that can't quite fly, but surely is better-looking.

Oil may be ratcheting back up over $50 a barrel and beyond, and we may be in the deepest economic pit since the 1930s, but we still have all the techno-nerds nurtured on Sci-Fi comic books busily at work devising appropriate automotive technologies for the era of energy scarcity.

My first thought upon reading about this ludicrous vehicle was: Air Control Nightmare. I mean, can you seriously imagine 200 million of these things flying around at low altitudes over the country? Or high altitudes? Can you imagine the drunk down the street who you've seen falling out of his car with a glass in his hand in the early AM, flying over your house in his aircar? Don't commercial air pilots and controllers have enough to deal with, what with planes taking off and landing on one-minute spaces at most major airhubs, and an already ample population of moron amateur pilots in small, private aircraft getting underfoot constantly?

My second thought was, thank the Gods for the Real Estate Bust, else millions of gadget-crazed idiots in every outer burb in the country would be getting HELOC loans against their houses to buy these things.

Some tech people need to get their heads out of the 50s Sci-Fi comic books and apply their abilities to designing something like new nuclear power generators that make use of nuclear waste, or perhaps, how to harness the ocean waves. There has to be a better application for their brains than thinking of yet another way to waste more energy that much faster.

1 comment:

consultant said...

Couldn't agree more.

I'm one of those who doesn't believe a technology fix is right around the corner. But yeah, the techno wiz kids need to apply their limited time in more productive ways.

I think one of the reasons they haven't is because they too have been caught up in our culture of non stop entertainment. We live in a world where we just want to have fun. The practical applications of "flying cars", which you ably point out, haven't deterred their fantasies one bit. From their perspective, gee whiz, wouldn't it be great to have a car that flies!

I don't think our good old USA will grow up and face reality until it has to. When people quit buying our T-Bills, when inflation rages, when the gas prices rachet up again. In other words, when things are out of our control. Because as a nation, we seem to have lost the capacity to direct ourselves in a thoughful, adult way.

Hard times are coming and flying cars will not be part of it.

"Please continue to post regularly. Your stuff is good".