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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today in Futuristic Vehicles

posted by on July 29 at 14:45 PM

A New York Times reporter gets a test-ride in what will likely be the first commercially available “jet pack.” The quotes are because it’s not a jet, and it’s only a pack in the way that strapping a small motorcycle to your back would also be considered a pack.


So far it’s flown to a maximum altitude of six feet, but the developer promises to personally take it up to 500 feet before he starts selling them for $100,000 next year. He’s also reported to be trying to come to terms with the fact that, “at some point, somebody is going to have a very bad experience.”

Watch the video. You can see where he gets a little too close to a tree and the branches get sucked into the rotors.

I imagine that, like the Segway, these will be initially used by law enforcement, which will be awesome, right?

In other futuristic transportation news, the owner of the #6 Tesla Roadster crashed his $109,000 car shortly after taking delivery of the much anticipated all-carbon electric speedster. No one was injured.


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Sucks about the Tesla. Actually it is FUNNY!!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 29, 2008 2:50 PM

I hope that guy is sinking every penny he has into product liability insurance. If he can get it, which I doubt. That thing's a worse idea than Scrabble Beta.

Posted by Fnarf | July 29, 2008 2:50 PM

No no no. This: what we were promised. That's what technology was supposed to give us. Not a couple of huge ass fans strapped to our back. That was not part of the bargain.

If 20 years of Reagan and Bush free market nonsense hasn't given us a jet pack by now, doesn't that in itself indicate it's abject failure.

Posted by kinaidos | July 29, 2008 3:08 PM

Personally, I like that jet-assisted glider that the other guy was flying around the Alps.

Seems a lot more promising.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 29, 2008 3:12 PM

I want a Theramin brand electric automobile. I want the engine to make strange and wonderous electronic music as I move my hands over the steering wheel.

Oh yeah, I'd also like collision avoidance and heated seats.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 29, 2008 3:31 PM

Even funnier, that Tesla crash - I know that backdrop - that's a church parking lot!

(damnit, checked the link for more pic, it's actually looks to be on Geary in FRONT of the church... nevermind).

$109,000 is a whole lotta car money, but all things considered it's a pretty low ceiling for a car that performs like that Tesla does. I think it's closest cousin, acceleration-wise, is about a quarter of a million dollars.

Posted by Dougsf | July 29, 2008 3:39 PM

A law enforcement vehicle that could be brought crashing to the ground with a handful of gravel? Seems impractical.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 29, 2008 3:48 PM

@7: Like a Segway?

Still, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near one of these things when it crashed... Think what it would do to small animals or your head.

Posted by Greg | July 29, 2008 4:22 PM

@5 ... I think a Theramin electric hovering surfboard made out of invisible alumninum would be more fun. Just don't slip.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 29, 2008 4:26 PM

It is interesting that the 200hp gasoline powered "jet" pack and the electric Tesla were mentioned in the same post. I'd think unless one was pretty skinny, one would be running the "jet" pack at WOT pretty much all the time;
"So he turned to his wife. ... ‘Hey, Vanessa, what are you doing tonight?"
Therefore, 200hp being about 150kJ/s and the energy content of gasoline being roughly 45MJ/L you would only get 233s/L if the engine was 100% efficient, which it isn't, even 2 minutes per liter, 8min/gal, 4mpg@30mph, would be being quite generous for efficiency. Sure, if you have $100,000 to buy the thing, a dollar a minute for fuel isn't a big deal, maintenance will probably be more than that. And it does sound like a good way to spend taxpayers money.

But for civilians, you could drive a Tesla quite a way on a dollars worth of electricity, plus you could have a hot (fill in the blank) sitting next to you and still hear the stereo.

Posted by Epimetheus | July 29, 2008 5:00 PM
Watch the video. You can see where he gets a little too close to a tree and the branches get sucked into the rotors.

What was that movie made with, someone's fucking camera phone? Jesus. That's what comes of letting print journalists attempt multi-media.

Posted by Judah | July 29, 2008 6:00 PM

Oh yeah, I *really* wanna pay $100K for an assisted suicide machine. Can't I pay Kevorkian a lot less and not have to leave my house?

Don't these guys watch Mythbusters? They already built this crap. And decided that even if you *could* get it to fly high enough to be useful, *you wouldn't want to*. Because if it fails in any way, you're pretty much toast. I guess you could have a parachute and an emergency eject, but if it fails at say, oh, 60 feet, you're done.

Posted by whatever | July 30, 2008 3:43 AM

What's really interesting about the Tesla is how fast it moved from the Popular Mechanics "Future Trend Watch for the 21st Century" section to the "I Had To Laugh" section. Now it's prosaic, and the 2nd Tesla crash will be neither new, nor noteworthy. All of this is good, as we head towards the Green Roadway.

Posted by John Bailo | July 30, 2008 9:02 AM

Can't we just get some rolling roads like in Heinlein?

Posted by Greg | July 30, 2008 9:35 AM

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