Electric planes do not have to be private (although things will start out that way.)
Electric planes (with jumpjet type takeoff and landing) could form a virtual callable personal pod transportation (which have been proposed for cities) but without building the rails. One of the Personal pod transportation proposals is shown here.
Current electric planes hold one or two people.
The airplane efficiency numbers (where there are no need for roads)are already competitive with trains. Electric planes are ten to twenty times more efficient fuel wise than current small planes.
The 438 mpg equivalent electric planes were previously discussed on this site.
However, the electric plane rollout will likely follow as vehicles for the business jet and an expansion of the current small plane owner class to fly above car traffic and not just for recreation and between cities. The USA currently has about 250,000 planes. This will be something else for people to complain about that the rich and affluent having that they do not. Perhaps 1 to 2 million personal electric planes by 2020, but business as usual without robotic controls could see the numbers in the 50,000-100,000 level in the USA and 100,000 to 500,000 level worldwide by 2020. Electric planes are already in the $40,000 to $150,000 price range (in the range of upper end cars). High volume production could reduce those prices to the $20,000 to $75,000 level. Actual visionary adoption could create the volume to get below $20,000. An optimistic projection where the supply chain for hybrid cars could be leveraged, battery and robotic control technologies were mature and where Mundane Singularity type production takes over would have up to 5 to 20 million personal electric planes by 2020. Definitely there is the potential for the widespread vision starting in the 2020-2030 time frame.
The limited use vision instead of public systems for reduced commutes for everyone would be where we have:
“Look at them flying above our gridlock in vehicles we were mocking when they were proposed as an everyman system. But now that it is only the rich that have it, I want to bitch and complain that I should get it too. My lack of vision will lead me to complain about it after I see them flying overhead while I am stuck in ground traffic”
: 2008 CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium has been held to work on the technical issues of personal aviation.
The NASA vision of personal aviation (PAV): Near all-weather STOL PAVs will be able to transport people to within just a few miles of their doorstep destination at trip speeds three to four times faster than airlines or cars. NASA predicts that up to 45% of all miles traveled in the future may be in PAVs. This will relieve congestion at metropolitan hub airports and the freeways that surround them, reduce the need to build new highways and save much of the 6.8 billion gallons of fuel wasted in surface gridlock each year.
The average doorstep to doorstep trip speed for automobiles is just 35 mph and for airliners is just 55 mph on trips under 250 miles. Recent delays caused by anti-terrorism security inspections reduce this speed even further. Traffic jams in the U.S. cost $78 Billion in year 2004, wasting 6.7 Billion gallons of fuel. These figures and the stress and pollution they entail worsen each year. Building new freeway lanes or light railway lines costs about $20 Million per mile and do not solve the fundamental problem.
98% of the U.S. population lives within 20 miles of at least one public use airport and yet 95% of commercial air traffic uses only 30 of our nation’s 5,000 airports. A study on airspace capacity contracted by NASA shows that our skies can accommodate at least 700 times more aircraft than are flying today.
20,000 large jets – 14 million would 700 times more
200,000 small planes – 140 million would be 700 times more
FAA and the Joint Planning and Development Office are already planning FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) to be an automated system that provides each aircraft its own traffic-free, computer-coordinated “Highway In The Sky.”
– Short runway use–Walk to grandma’s from small residential airfields
The efficiency of public transportation has to factor in the number of people being moved. The Brad Templeton case is that if you have low usage (4 people in a bus then the public transportation system is less efficient than a car.)
More restrictions can be applied to air traffic corridors and loosened only as the air traffic technology safely permits.
Intermediate step of using the 3,400 small airports in the U.S. alone. So mostly not building to building air traffic.
The SATS Project (2001-2006), conducted by NASA and partners in the National Consortium for Aviation Mobility (NCAM) proved the viability of technical capabilities in the following four areas:
* High-volume operations at airports without control towers or terminal radar facilities
* Technologies enabling safe landings at more airports in almost all weather conditions
* Integration of SATS aircraft into a higher capacity air traffic control system, with complex flows and slower aircraft
* Improved single-pilot ability to function competently in evolving, complex national airspace
Virtual skies navigation concept
Synthetic vision for all weather flight
This site believes that the interface should be one where automated robotic flying is used for personal aviation. However, up to the 1 million to 3 million electric planes in the USA level it will probably be advanced flight assist systems and people getting sport plane licenses or private air licenses who fly the planes.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.