The idea of a vehicle capable of flying across the town has existed since the ’80s. The idea is so popular, it even becomes a trope in every mainstream science fiction movie. In Back to The Future Movie, they predicted flying cars will be common in 2015. It’s 2021, and I don’t see a single flying car yet. There are several reasons why we don’t have a flying car yet. However, the main idea is it is a really bad idea to have it with our current technology.
We actually have things that could be considered a flying car: a small aircraft. Small aircraft could have several people on board, and it could fly. Yet, it is expensive, and it has bad fuel efficiency. For example, a typical Cessna aeroplane has 1 pilot and 3 passengers’ capacity. It is similar to your car. According to this website, small plane with 65 HP requires 2.5 to 3 gallons per hour. The basic Cessna 172 has 145 hp, twice more than the size of the 65hp aircraft. This means the Cessna will consume 7 to 8 gallons of fuel per hour. It also requires a large amount of area to land and takes off. The typical Honda Civic could have 74 Km per gallon. This comparison shows that aircraft is totally not fuel and space-efficient method to do your transport. This is why almost everyone today chooses a land vehicle rather than buying their personal aircraft.
The closest thing to a flying car is a manned drone. In November 2021, South Korea successfully. However, the drone is only capable of a 30–50 Km range.
The problem why the drone can’t travel so far is energy storage. This energy storage problem is actually the biggest problem that prevents us from having a drone capable of travelling between cities. Battery is heavier than liquid fuel. A vehicle will be lighter and have more energy capacity using fossil fuel. Battery can’t yet store the same amount of energy in a combustion engine. Our hope for this energy problem is an SSB, a Solid-State Battery.
In a nutshell, SSB is not using a liquid electrolyte as in your smartphone and laptop right now. This system will make the battery way more efficient, have a faster charging time, and store more energy. Toyota, Nissan and Tesla currently develop this technology. Until this technology become mainstream, we will never see a ubiquitous use of a manned drone.
We don’t have a flying car yet in 2022 because we don’t have the technology yet. Flying requires way more energy than using a land vehicle. As long as we can’t improve a cheap, reliable electric battery, we will never see this method in the near future.