Autonomous driving’s godfather and tech investors say the world is ready for flying cars

TechCrunch | 9/19/2017 | Matthew Lynley
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Autonomous driving is often considered the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, among a few other technologists, but Thrun is already looking to move on to the next mode of transportation — and he isn’t alone.

At TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017, Thrun talked a lot about flying cars and how that was the future of transportation. So did GGV’s Jenny Lee, a prolific investor in China. And so did Steve Jurvetson, one of the original investors in SpaceX. The technical backbone for flying cars seems to be there already — with drones becoming ever-present and advancements in AI and self-driving cars — but the time is coming soon that flying cars will be the primary mode of transportation.

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“I can’t envision a future of highways [and being] stuck in cars,” Thrun said. “I envision a [future] where you hop in a thing, go in the air, and fly in a straight line. I envision a future where Amazon delivers my food in the air in five minutes. The air is so free of stuff and is so unused compared to the ground, it has to happen in my opinion.”

And this is a pretty hard truth. Cars today are forced to move on a two-dimensional plane (ramps, clover intersections and tunnels set aside), and while self-driving cars would make it easier for cars to talk to each other and move more efficiently, adding a third dimension to travel would make a lot of sense coming next. Thrun pointed to airplane transit, which is already a “fundamentally great mass transit system.”

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Flipping back to Monday, Jurvetson said he was actually about to ride in a flying car before he “watched it flip over” before arriving to talk about some of the next steps in technology onstage. So, there’s work to be done there, but it does certainly...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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