Re: those marvelous extropians with their flying machines(moller skycars!)...

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 18:21:25 MST

On Mon, 6 Mar 2000, john grigg wrote:

> James, the scenario you gave of skycars crashing into people on the ground
> is frightening and yet each year in the U.S. about fifty-thousand people die
> in car accidents! And a large percentage involving the abuse of drugs and
> alcohol. I see skycars being safer then that! Especially with automatic
> controls guided by gps.

Cars clearly are dangerous. A simple examination of the number of accidents
caused by drivers falling asleep makes that point very clear. Now, the critical
factor with regard to air cars is "booking a flight path" and maintaining it.
Given that current Boeing jets can land themselves, presumably Air-cars could
do so as well. The proper problem set is therefore the protocol between the
pilot and the auto-pilot when there is a disagreement over who is right.
If the autopilot had said "land the plane on any mechanical malfuctions"
then the recent Alaska Airlines crash might not have occured. It may be
appropriate to give people control over the autopilot, but only when you
can verify the pilot is not drunk or asleep and he/she has a machine
that functions within his/her experience realm to work with.

> I have a friend here in Anchorage who is a pilot of many years experience
> and he also has serious reservations about the moller skycar similar to your
> own. He basically thought they were cool looking deathtraps! lol

Yes, you have to differentiate between the experience of pilots with no
VTO&L and/or computer experience and/or those air-vehicles that have fail-safe
mechanisms such as multiple engines or parachutes.

Extrapolations of "current experience" onto "future technology" should be
examined, but not assumed to be Gospel.

There will come a time when *every* pilot's experience based on 1, 2, 3 engine
aerospace vehicles is *irrelevant* vis-a-vis vehicles with millions of engines
based on MEMS/Nano technology. Extrapolations have their limits.


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