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Ask The Internet of Everything Futurist: “When Will We Get Our Flying Cars?”

July 22, 2013 - 15 Comments

Flying cars. Robots. Biometric devices. These are just some of the things I get to think about and research in my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist. As the Internet of Everything continues to connect more people, process, data, and things it is exciting to think about the possibilities.

Looking at life 50 years ago can give us perspective about just how far we have come. In 1963, push-button telephones were first introduced and the world’s population was 3.2 billion, less than half of what it is today. The next 50 years will be just as revolutionary and life changing, perhaps even more so.

Today I am introducing a new series called “Ask the Futurist” where I will answer questions related to—you guessed it—the future. I will be discussing technology that on the surface might seem like a far-reaching concept, but in reality may be possible in our lifetime.

Our first question comes from Scott McDermott, a network engineer from Seattle, Washington:


“When will we get our flying cars? Is that even a realistic hope anymore?”


Terrafugia’s flying car  Photo Source: Business Insider

Terrafugia’s flying car
Photo Source: Business Insider

Don’t lose hope on flying cars just yet. This is a question that I think about often. I believe that we will be able to see flying cars in the next five-to-10 years.

The advances of robotics, drones and gyroscope technology will make flying cars a reality sooner than you think. In fact, last month Business Insider highlighted a company called Terrafugia that is in the final testing stages for a practical flying car. Built with mass-market production in mind, the four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric flying car has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.

Terrafugia’s flying car relies on electric drivetrain                     Photo Source: Business Insider

Terrafugia’s flying car relies on electric drivetrain
Photo Source: Business Insider

While we want to make our science fiction dreams a reality as soon as possible, there are some challenges with flying cars. For example, federal legislation, cost, and fuel considerations will need to be evaluated. According to the New York Times, the F.A.A. created a new classification, the light-sport category, to encourage the design of small, easy-to-fly aircraft more than eight years ago. However, there is still a long way to go before we use our flying car to commute to work.

What do you want to know about the future? Ask your question to @DavetheFuturist or join the conversation: #IoE #AsktheFuturist.

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  1. Dave,

    Do you see a quantum leap in code parallelazation as the next level of how code is written?

    • Andrew, what an excellent question! Yes, I see a huge leap in code (execution) parallelization. In large part because things are connected to other things which are already running code. No longer does a thing / app need to write the entire stack, it writes a framework for consumption that consumes services etc., running on other things. For example, if you built an app today that needed to play video and offering mapping, you might likely tap into YouTube’s API and Google’s API, you wouldn’t write them yourself. Now consider billions of things running their own code and creating and consuming services. This is code parallelization at a scale we’ve never seen before.

  2. It is amazing to see how far society has “advanced” technologically in 50 years, and it is impossible to say what will happen for sure 50 years from now, but it will be interesting to watch society continue to evolve.

  3. Cisco Birds. The Known is burden. Unknown is innovation.

    You should never use the known words like CAR. People continue to think around cars, license, insurance, road signs. Just adding an adjective like FLYING may not transform human mind.

    New concepts should be introduced with new words. Then people open their mind and start seeing the sky.


  4. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the very interesting blogs.
    Slight aside – Would appreciate your inputs on how processes tie in to IOE. It seems that process is the only difference between IOT and IOE.

  5. Thanks for the response. I look forward to the day where a practical flying car becomes reality! I just hope the rules & regulations that will be imposed don’t prevent it from becoming practical…

  6. I’m looking forward to the time when I can use my 3D printer to print my very own flying car at home!

  7. This is extremely interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. I do have one, perhaps important, question which is currently on my mind. With normal cars we have specific road signs and traffic lights along with regimental layouts in the road in which we follow to get to a specific destination. However, with these new flying cars, how will they make sure one doesn’t crash into another? It wouldn’t be nice if it was like a floating layout of holographic roads, do you think it would be much more free? Like a plane or helicopter for example?

    • @Josh – you won’t need physical “floating” signs as your windshield will display location and proximity information.

  8. Cool! Flying cars are a recurrent topic in scifi since 50s. They have been predicted lot of times but i haven’t get one yet :/ why? Because practical and cheap flying car needs a significant improvement in power plants and aerodynamics. Terrafugia has a lack of wing surface or suddenly they made an incredible advance in aerodynamics. Is it credible?
    I would be happy to get one, but I believe surprises will come from IoT. IoT will have a lot of applications, that we cannot imagine.

  9. I want to fly dont wan
    t to walk…walk tired

  10. I wish i have one

  11. Yes fly car is cool….

  12. @Jim, even the “luddites” see the value of improved productivity, collaboration, new business models, new revenue opportunities. etc. So while they may not be first movers, they are being “pulled along” by the energy behind these set of market and technology transitions. When the tide rises, all boats float.

  13. The development of technology that will fill out the vision for the Internet of Everything seems like an irrestible force. Yet the immovable object seems to be people with an “old school” or even Luddite perspective. Many of these folks are in positions of significant responsibility in major companies. Will the adoption of the Internet of Everything in a big way have to wait for the old school manager to retire?