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One of the most disappointing things about living in the future we once imagined is the conspicuous lack of flying cars that The Jetsons promised us. Although things are finally starting to look up (pun intended) after a Boeing test flight earlier today.
The world's largest aerospace company successfully launched a 30-foot-long Passenger Air Vehicle a few feet off the ground before sticking a gentle landing less than a minute later, per a report via Yahoo! News. They also released a brief video of the flight on YouTube.
"The future of mobility — moving goods, moving cargo, moving people — that future is happening now, and it’s going to accelerate over the next five years and ramp up even more beyond that," Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's president, chairman, and CEO, told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Boeing is in a race to tackle autonomous flight travel with numerous competitors, including the European company Airbus SE, which has conducted numerous flying vehicle test flights, and Volocopter, which has tested a kind of drone/helicopter/taxi that's powered by 18 rotors.
While this is certainly a victory, it's a small step forward, as they're all still faced with the regulatory nightmare of whether — or when — flying cars become a day-to-day reality. Future tests of Boeing's craft will test forward, wing-borne flights.
Aurora, which was acquired by Boeing last year, has also partnered with Uber for a "flightshare"-type service, which they're aiming to have available on smartphones sometime in 2023. It's another ambitious plan for Boeing, which is also vowing to beat Elon Musk's SpaceX to Mars.
Even though a world that resembles The Jetsons is still a long way off, it won't ever happen without moments like these.