Flying Cars? NASA Helping to Plan Future of Air Travel in Minnesota
Does this mean those flying cars might finally be a possibility? Well, maybe!
I'll admit I was sucked in by the headline from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in my email box earlier this week. It mentioned how they were partnering with NASA (that'd be the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to "plan for future of aviation and Advanced Air Mobility" in Minnesota.
It sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? I had visions of flying cars all over Rochester, moving high about the congestion on 2nd Street during the mornings and afternoons or maybe cutting the trip to the Twin Cities to about 20 minutes, instead of the hour-plus drive up Highway-52.
But, while MnDOT IS still partnering with NASA, flying 'cars' aren't really a part of the plan. At least the version I was thinking of, anyway. But it's not too far off! This new partnership sounds like it might help design a version of flying cars... kind of. It's something NASA calls Advanced Air Mobility, and MnDOT explains the new NASA partnership like this:
It's an effort to plan for the future of aviation where advanced technology cargo aircraft and passenger air taxi services provide more dynamic aviation options to serve Minnesota’s communities.
Ah, 'air taxi services' kind of sounds like it could be a flying car, right? Well, some type of flying vehicle could be a distinct possibility. And a drone delivering your latest online order through the air right to your house is part of the not-too-distant future here in Minnesota, as well. It still sounds like a pretty cool program. And, it's fairly rare, too. MnDOT says it's one of only five total partnerships NASA is undertaking, with other locations being Massachusetts, Texas, Ohio, and Orlando, Florida.
Right now, the program consists of series of five workshops, beginning later this month, where MnDOT and NASA will "identify areas of opportunity and concern regarding Advanced Air Mobility integration, and discuss strategies for future engagement and planning. Workshop participants will include partners from local governments, airport authorities and operators, universities, vehicle and subsystem manufacturers, infrastructure providers, workforce development organizations and others."
You can more information on the program by checking out the video below. And after that, instead of looking to the future, how about we take a walk down memory lane to when you first took a big step in your own transportation, by getting your driver's license. Keep scrolling to see how cheap gas was the year you first got behind the wheel!