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Highways in the Sky: Flying Cars and the Future of Travel 
 
by Mark R. Whittington September 30, 2005

Other Flying Cars

Other companies are developing their versions of the flying car. Macro Industries of Huntsville, Alabama is developing a flying car called the Skyrider X2-R. The X2-R has a maximum speed of 355 mph with a range of 800 nautical miles. Macro claims that the production version of their flying car will be available in about five years.

The CarterCopter, being developed by Carter Aviation Technologies, has a large rotary engine on top, like a helicopter, and a smaller one in the rear to provide propulsion. It can fly at five hundred miles an hour. Company founder, Jay Carter, a former engineer at Bell, does not envision creating a production model in the near future, as he is concentrating on research and development. He does suggest that when the first production model is available, it will probably be a kind of air taxi that can take a handful of passengers between nearby cities, beating out commercial jets because the trip would be between downtown heliports, obviating the need to go to distant air ports.

NASA’s Highway in the Sky

All of these flying cars will never get off the ground unless there is a means to control them while they are in flight. Fortunately, NASA has developed a computer and tracking system called the Highway in the Sky. Using satellites and global positioning system, the Highway in the Sky will provide a heads up display for a pilot of a flying car. It will be much like a video game, that will create a kind of virtual box in which the pilot has to keep his vehicle to keep it from crashing into other flying cars.

Other notions include using the same sort of system to preprogram a flying car’s flight path so that once in the air, the pilot would not have to physically control the air craft. The NASA program will even help pilots fly during bad weather by providing a virtual view of the world outside.

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