Monday, January 11, 2016

Vehicle gives 'shuttle' a whole new meaning

You could be George Jetson! Many of us have waiting our entire lives for the day when we will be able to fly around town as easily as George Jetson did in the classic cartoon series. Think of the possibilities. Instead of billions of dollars spent on road improvements we could spend much less on small helipads on top of office buildings. "Roads? Where' we're going we don't need roads!" said Professor Emmett Brown as he flew his Delorean. There was a working model of such a vehicle on display at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas last week, according to a Web post by Gizmag. Just as drones large enough to carry a camera spy on your neighbor as she suns herself in her own back yard and drop off packages from Amazon made news this past Christmas, in a few years from now the big thing could be one-person drones designed to fly at low altitude, skimming the tops of trees, for no more than 30 minutes on a single charge. Ehang, a Chinese company, has developed the 184 AAV (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle.) It's designed to not need a pilot's license. The company sees the vehicle as being controlled by an autopilot of sorts. You enter your destination on a computer screen and push the go button. Then it's up, up and away and the AAV avoids obstacles, landing you safe and sound at your destination whether it be the grocery store or your workplace. Unfortunately, no price was given, so I am holding out hope they will soon be affordable. I might have to trade in my scooter.