As if Europe wasn’t already advanced enough when it comes to transportation, the EU recently invested $6.2 million into researching the possibility of incorporating Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAV’s) as a way to ease congestion in their dense infrastructure. Named the “myCopter” project, this government-led initiative seeks to solve the plethora of problems that arise with non-commercial air-travel. If successful, they might just solve mankind’s urban transportation dilemma — while simultaneously making the rest of the world extremely jealous!
These Jetsons-like vehicles are intended to fly well below the height of commercial airlines to avoid interferences with flight paths. A number of challenges do remain, namely how to coordinate ground control, security legislation, traffic laws, and the plethora of other legal and political issues. If people already have an issue with something as harmless as wind turbines “ruining” their ocean view, then you can only imagine how they would feel about a newly licensed 16-year old soaring 300 feet above the neighborhood.
In response to these concerns, the EU’s intended direction is to create “no fly zones” by embedding software in PAV’s that will restrict a driver from crossing through prohibited areas.
“Security issues are an important topic that requires extensive attention when the vision of the myCopter project becomes reality, but we foresee that automation will play a big and important role in the entire transportation system,” explains Dr. Bülthoff. “Therefore it could be highly likely that no-flight zones that PAVs simply could not fly in will be designed, because the automation that is onboard will not allow the vehicle to be directed towards these zones.”
Believe it or not, these plans actually have potential to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Because the flight of these vehicles is direct, and presumably uninterrupted, trips will be inherently shorter and more efficient. MyCopter researchers estimate that the average trip of any given PAV will be shorter than 62 miles in length, and because of the light 1-2 passenger load, these vehicles could one day be electric. As battery and electric engine technology progress with the rise of electric cars, the possibility of a clean green flying machine could eventually leave the realm of daydreams and make the top of every sci-fi geek’s wish list.