Memo to Detroit, Tokyo and Stuttgart: Donâ€™t make flying cars. Ever.
A spate of articles on the topic surfaced recently in business magazines and the popular media pondering the concept of flying cars, a possibility that seemed inevitable to those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons on TV in the 1960s.
It seems absurd to bring up now, when auto makers are struggling with such mundane, earth-bound issues as rollover deaths and emissions, but nevertheless, seemingly serious people are talking about flying cars.
Part of the speculation is being fueled by new aerospace ventures byand . Honda in particular reportedly is involved in developing small jet aircraft labeled â€śair taxis.â€ť
Plus, some entrepreneurs once again are building flying prototypes and suggesting personal flying cars costing as little as $50,000 per copy arenâ€™t far off.
An article in Business Weekâ€™s online edition says Tim Draper, a major venture capitalist â€śhas recently asked for proposals from outfits developing flying cars.â€ť
Apparently Draper doesnâ€™t spend much time on the freeway.
If your daily commute is like mine, it is overrun with boneheads who consider driving a minor distraction from the truly important tasks of eating breakfast, talking on cell phones and applying makeup.
In just one week last month, Wardâ€™s editors spotted at least three drivers reading newspapers, books or magazines while behind the wheel.
The idea these same dolts might someday be piloting flying cars is as horrifying as it is ridiculous.
Yet some forecasters just canâ€™t give up the idea of flying cars, hanging on to the premise that technology a couple decades from now will somehow make the average commuter smarter and more responsible.
For the record, traditional auto makers are no strangers to the aerospace industry. Henrynot only put the world on wheels, he put it on wings with the innovative Ford Tri Motor airplane in the 1920s and 1930s.
During World War II, many of the worldâ€™s auto makers in the U.S., Japan and Germany built warplanes or aerospace parts.â€™s logo, in fact, is a symbolic airplane propeller.
In the 1980s, in an effort to expand beyond the highly cyclical car-building business, GM bought Hughes Aircraft Co. for $5.2 billion andbought Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
Now, becauseand are moving into aerospace, some folks in silicon valley, a place where The New York Times recently mentioned investors once again are getting interested in â€śthrowing millions after the cockamamie and absurd,â€ť are starting to scratch their chins and say aerospace and flying cars might be a lucrative business opportunity.
No. Been there, done that. Aerospace is a silly distraction for the auto industry and nothing more than a bad dream for future would-be commuters.
Along with beehive hairdos and backyard bomb shelters, flying cars are best left in the 1960s.