Washington, D.C. — While flying cars may sound like a futuristic fantasy out of “The Jetsons,” they may be widely available in the coming decades. At least 20 companies are working on designs for flying cars, and by some estimates the market for on-demand, short-distance urban air travel could reach $850 billion by 2040. The target demographic for flying cars will not be billionaires but highly paid professionals, meaning there could soon be a substantial segment of the population that is able to opt out of commuting by ground transportation.
A new report from the Center for American Progress weighs the societal costs of this emerging technology and finds that flying cars will likely accelerate sprawl and reinforce the isolation of elites to the detriment of the shared life that is necessary to sustain a healthy democratic society. Just as the creation of the interstate highway system in the 2oth century became a conduit for racial and economic segregation, while leading to environmentally deleterious low-density housing, the advent of flying cars has the potential to accelerate these trends. In the report, CAP calls on policymakers to carefully consider all the implications of this emerging technology and argues that because flying cars will benefit elites to the detriment of society at large, their development should be solely privately funded.
“As with any technology, flying cars have the potential for good and the potential for harm,” said Kevin DeGood, director of Infrastructure Policy at the Center for American Progress. “While on the surface allowing a substantial portion of the population to fly over crowded roads is very tempting, it also comes with big downsides. If not properly regulated, flying cars could lead to a country in which wealthy individuals live in walled-off enclaves far from urban centers, simply flying over most of society to arrive at their offices each day. This new form of technology-induced isolation will further degrade the shared societal experience necessary to sustain a functional democracy.”
Read the report: “Flying Cars Will Undermine Democracy and the Environment” by Kevin DeGood.
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcisucj.