While humankind has been waiting a long time for flying automobiles, one American state has decided now is the time to do something about it.
We’ve been expecting flying cars for some time now, and although they aren’t even close to becoming a reality, one famously libertarian state in the USA has given them the all-clear.
Last week, New Hampshire passed House Bill 1182—aka the “Jetson Bill”—into law, allowing flying cars to share the road with other automobiles—once you’re able to buy one, of course.
“There was nothing on the books that would have allowed this type of vehicle on the road,” state representative Sherman Packard, a sponsor of the bill, told NHPR. “To allow them to even exist in New Hampshire we had to pass this type of legislation.”
CNET has pointed out that this specific law doesn’t let future flying cars take to the skies above roadways, “but it does allow them to operate as a traditional vehicle on public roads.” Essentially, the bill envisions a future where the drivers/pilots of such vehicles drive to the airport at which they can then take off toward the skies. The law also does not permit taking off or landing on public roads.
Another sobering thought: these vehicles do not exist. However, a growing number of startups and larger companies claim to have something in the works. Terrafugia was rumoured to be aggressively pursuing the dream, and while it has gone quiet the past couple of years, it told Roadshow that it has 100 people working on its flying car project, eyeing industry leadership in “urban air mobility.”
Whatever the case, if/when these vehicles become a reality, New Hampshire’s public roads will be ready for them, which lawmakers say was not previously legal.
Jeff Rapsis, the executive director of the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, told NHPR that once flying cars come to fruition, it is unlikely they will stick out in traffic, rendering the law an easy one for motorists to adjust to.
“If you’re driving down the highway you won’t see some unusual air-craft like device coming behind you,” he told the station. “While on the road it will behave very much like a normal car.”
CNET, on the other hand, predicts that the flying cars of the future are unlikely to “perform exactly the way we watched them in The Jetsons,” and that we should expect “flying cars” to more closely resemble VTOLs.