As a child, I was always fascinated by the possibility of car-like vehicles flying in the sky like the “AeroCar” on the Jetsons cartoon sitcom created by Hanna-Barbera. The whole Jetson environment was cool, it had cool looking architectural buildings, electronic networked communications, automated systems, and automatous gadgets, devices, and vehicles. Hanna-Barbera showed us the twenty-first century world. Most of us who were kids and watched this cartoon were excited about all the possibilities of this whimsical futuristic era that inspired our imaginations.
Even now, many years later, my vision of the “AeroCar” remained. As I went through life and invented and applied my creations to society, the vision of autonomous auto vehicles that can fly at low altitudes between 500 and 700 feet stayed with me. I’ve had continuous interest in improving the security and safety of Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles and Systems (UAV/UAS) made it clear that as we created the ability to have small UAV/UAS (Drones) weighing less than 55lb be safer, so that they can share the national airspace with other manned and unmanned aircraft, the ability to have 1 ton or 2 ton UAS “AeroCar” take flight by 2025 or earlier is possible.
While creating the foundation of Drone Aviation Safety and Security systems at ClearSpace Aeronautics (CSA), my vision of the Jetson Era of air transportation continuously evolves:
The UAS “AeroCar” would be able to integrate existing Drone Aviation policies, with built-in safety and security measures to ensure safe travel. These self-driving UAV “AeroCars” would occupy a designated space in our skies, traveling at controlled speeds of 100 mph to 200 mph in a flexible electronic tunnel system that is invisible to the naked eye. The tunnel system bends, curves, rises and drops In accordance to the destination and the traffic density of other UAS AeroCars sharing the same airspace. It automatically creates buffer zone between other non-passenger UAS traveling below 500 feet and above 700 feet, and collision avoidance of objects (buildings, bridges, trees, etc).
As CES concludes in Las Vegas this year, the media has gravitated toward autonomous ground vehicles (automobiles) which were a big hit. Will it be trending for mainstream drivers? That’s hard to say. I see the autonomous “AeroCar,” as being more of a trend due the to the growth and expansion of UAS technology and the science that can be applied to vehicles that are about 1 to 2 tons. Autonomous “cars” will be used by delivery systems like Amazon, UPS and other freight companies with the probability of a portable launcher and lander for delivery drones. The UAS “AeroCar” will also be used by individuals who are driving manual cars now but who can be the early adopters and by mass transit systems once security and safety can be consistently ensured.
The Elements of the UAS “AeroCar” will depend on several technologies and infrastuctures including an Unmanned Traffic Management System that is able to define and control electronic aero tunnels for traffic control, anti-collision, anti-terrorist systems, and safe-zones. I envision that the UAS “AeroCar” will be able to transport passengers from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in about 2 hours, a trip that normally takes about 4 hours and 50 minutes to travel. A less congested system of multiple levels of UAS-type systems from under 55lb to two ton air devices and vehicles, since AI neural pathways will be created every time a destination is keyed up on the network board of the autonomous system, connecting it to other neural networks that communicate to each other on constant wireless radio band devices that run on reusable or solar energy.
As the world of the under 55lb drone is further defined and developed, policies enabled and enforced more consistently with reliable security and safety systems, “the Jetson Era” of air transportation will become a reality. The futuristic high-rise buildings I used to dream about will become a reality, equipped with Drone platforms to handle all types of UAS – especially the “AeroCar.” I envision the future of a city like Las Vegas with multiple economic structures with UAS “Drone Aviation” being central to the “Jetson City” theme with innovative new drones and devices zipping through the air above the Strip at 400 to 700 feet.
ClearSpace Aeronautics (CSA) and Whitmarsh Research Group (WRG) collaborated with the sharing the vision of the window into the Era of the “Jetsons.”
Peter and Shana Whitmarsh are co-founders of ClearSpace Aero and co-inventors CSA’s patent-pending Clear Space Solutions: Direct Aviated Response System™ and Smart City Drone Response System™, Drone DMV™, and Drone CyberSecurity. They are also principals of Whitmarsh Research Group which incubated the technologies for CSA.