Intel Drone GM Believes We’ll Have Flying Cars in 5 Years

We’ve had media for the past several decades to tell us what the future will be like, and many times that hypothetical view includes flying cars, such as in the “Back to the Future” trilogy and “The Jetsons.”

Media aren’t the only ones that believe that, though, as Anil Nanduri, the general manager of Intel’s drone group, happens to agree, and he believes we could see it in just five years. He sat for an interview with CNET, and they got his thoughts on this potential technology.

Nanduri Thoughts on Flying Cars

Nanduri isn’t alone in this thinking, as other companies agree with him, including Uber and Ehang, who would both like to see air taxis as soon as 2023. But the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, thinks cars in underground tunnels would work out better.

The one in charge of the the Intel drone division, though, has that real-world experience, as he put on a Super bowl display this year coordinating 2,000 drones and thinks we’ll be flying cars in the near future.

“There will definitely be flights with flying cars in five years,” he told CNET. “At scale? Probably not. But definitely you’ll see them starting to be up in the sky. The most amazing thing about autonomous air traffic is that airspace solves the three-dimensional challenge that the ground traffic is faced with.”

This puts him in direct opposition to Musk who thinks underground tunnels are the way to solve that traffic problem. Yet still, Nanduri doesn’t think it will fix things in five years, because the technology will just be starting out. He doesn’t agree with Ehang and Uber either, as he believes we won’t start to see air taxis for about 10 years.

Economically, he knows such a system works, and he knows with regards to traffic congestion, people “want everything delivered.” He figures once the regulations are configured, “You’ll see it rapidly roll out.”

Nanduri believes the recent incident at the Gatwick Airport of a drone shutting down air traffic is a good example of why we need to “acknowledge it, embrace it,” with regards to the future of air traffic.

He realizes people may not be comfortable with the thought of flying cars, but he thinks the benefits far override the hurdles once you look at the traffic congestion in Bangalore and Beijing that have been reduced to basically parking lots.

Just as autonomous cars are first being put into play making deliveries, Nanduri thinks “cargo drones moving supplies and equipment … will drive a lot of the innovation.”

That same innovation will be extending flight time, as currently small camera drones only give you around 30 minutes of flight time. He also believes the noise factor will be taken care of in the same way. “There’s research gong on as to how I can make them more human-friendly,” as “these things become carriers to adoption.”

Nanduri believes the system will be smart, such as knowing if a pet is in the backyard and that the flying car shouldn’t land,but he also sees a mat with a QR code on it for navigating to our homes. “The takeoff and landing elements and the safety around that are still things we’re learning,” adds Nanduri

Is There a Future for Flying Cars

“At the end of the day,” says Nanduri, “the social acceptance comes down to value.”

Do you see it this way as well? Do you think if you saw value in flying cars you would be more accepting? If they solved your traffic congestion problem would you sign on more quickly? Add your thoughts to the comments.

Image Credit: Intel via CNET and YouTube

One comment

  1. “Is There a Future for Flying Cars”
    There is a future in and for flying cars IF, and only IF, they are fully autonomous. However, the very first problem that must be solved with autonomous cars is their security. It MUST be made bullet-proof because right now it is woefully inadequate. It is inadequate for objects moving in a two-dimensional space, let alone ones moving in a three-dimensional space. Autonomous cars, both ground and air, MUST be made human-proof, i.e. there should be no way a human can gain control over the car. I’ll leave to your imagination what can happen if one idiot decides to take a flying car on a joy ride, or what can happen if terrorists load a flying car with explosives.

    All flying cars MUST be integrated into an universal control net. Considering the fact that air traffic controllers are currently, for the most part, overworked, that would mean doubling or tripling their number to help in controlling all the additional flying objects.

    Right now all cities of any size experience periods of gridlocked traffic, mostly during the rush hours. Do we want to see that traffic moved into the air space above those cities? Do we want to see bumper-to-bumper traffic moved into the air pace above those cities? There are about 200 million cars and trucks currently registered in the United States. Do we want even 1% of them up in the air, competing for space with drones, as well as private, commercial and military planes? When “visionaries” talk about flying cars, they seem to somehow assume that the number of vehicles will automagically be reduced by 90%-95%. Is their vision of the possible future blinding them to reality?!

    Five years is a very ambitious time frame. I doubt very much if in that time any semblance of control over drones, both privately owned and corporate, let alone flying cars, can be established. There are too many social and legal obstacles to overcome in that short period of time.

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