lawyers vs. AirCars

Spike Jones (
Sun, 22 Aug 1999 19:41:48 -0700

> (Philip Witham) wrote:
> > As for noise, nothing would be noisier than a rocket pack, with it's
> > supersonic exhaust jet. This is what makes rockets so much fun to test!
> wrote: I can attest to this. I saw the old Bell jet pack
> demonstrated when I was about 9 years old or so....

More recently, there was [I believe] the Olympics opening ceremony, about 6-10 yrs ago where a guy flew into the stadium with a jet pack. Noisy as hell, but of course the crowd was going wild, so it didnt seem so bad. {8^D

Greg, Im glad you weighed in on this thread. Your ideas will be quite helpful, being in the law business. Consider the seemingly overwhelming problem of product liability. If *you* had a jillion dollars, a Gatesian fortune, would you develop either air cars or jet packs? No, never in today's litigious society. Some drunken yahoo hits a family from behind at 50 mph, GM gets sued for 6 billllllion clams. Now, would you want to give every prole the means to fly *overhead*? I think not.

Or if so, the device would have *no* user input, other than the GPS coordinates of the destination, which may not be changed after the machine determines if it has sufficient fuel and takes off. The machine must totally and permanently disable itself if any self styled shade tree mechanic so much as opens the hood, just to see what is inside. Even assuming raging nanotech, there remains the daunting nontechnical problem of making every personal aircar absolutely perfectly safe for the most talented and determined idiot.

Nowthen, at the risk of making this post a scattershot mess, consider current transportation technologies that are not being implemented because of liability uncertainties, such as caravanning. The engineering infrastructure has quietly become available over the past couple decades, with the introduction of cruise control and those wonderfully competent antilock brakes, for a car to be computer controlled to follow the car ahead at a speed of 130 kph at a distance of 1 meter. A string of cars of indefinite length can caravan along at highway speeds in the far left lane, *tremendously reducing* the overcrowdedness of these wonderful interstate highways, now stretched to the limit. This technology has already been demonstrated, but as we know, it is not being used for no one will insure a caravan.

We have a great testbed for the technology, right here in the sillyclone valley: Interstate 680 and the 237 corredor along the south end of the SF Bay. We have a large population of highly motivated highly paid people, many of whom work for these uptight software/internet companies, whose products can become obsolete in the time it takes to get out of a traffic jam, and yet, look at us. Half a million a day, crawling for hours on some of the most crowded roads on the planet, and the *technology to fix the goddamn mess* is HERE! NOW! If we can just figure out who gets sued when the thing inevitably goes wrong.

Help us Obie Wan Gregory, you're our only hope. {8-[ spike