There’s a pretty good chance that you got one of those cheap consumer-grade quadcopter drones for Christmas or a birthday recently. And there’s a pretty good chance that within minutes you smashed that bitch into a tree or a telephone wire or something. Cadillac wants to scale that technology up to hold a human-shaped soft and squishy cargo and deploy thousands of them in every city around the world. The no-longer-laureled crest division of General Motors unveiled this concept, called eVOL, during CES this week like it was a totally normal thing to do.
It would seem that Cadillac wants to believe that New York City can someday turn into a stand-in for the Coruscant of the Star Wars universe. People will just be zippin’ around on speeders and flying platforms following air traffic rules and getting FAA pilots licenses. Somehow that’s going to be an easier way to skirt traffic than just funding and building mass transit, and incentivizing work from home. Absurd.
You won’t ever catch my ass in a flying car, because that’s just a helicopter, which is already scary, but worse. Whether you want me to fly it myself or you want me to put my trust in autonomous technology, neither solution makes me feel at ease. No way, no how. More than 38,000 Americans die every year in car accidents, but if you have a fender bender in a flying car it could be a catastrophic event.
Autonomous technology isn’t ready for prime time in automotive applications on the ground. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to trust a car driving itself. The amount of variables that an autonomous system would need to monitor in the air is significantly higher. Whether it could be thwarted by weather or a dumbass bird flying into one of your rotors or just pushing the wrong button, I only see bad things. This kind of concept is at least several years from any kind of mass adoption. And that’s to say nothing of the cost of something like this.
With a 120-horsepower electric motor powering four rotor blades, this little single-seater aeromobile was designed for breakneck speeds up to 56 miles per hour. With vertical take offs and landings, the Cadillac concept is meant to act as a personal aero mobility device. Obviously the eVOL doesn’t exist, and this is all vaporware bullshit, but Cadillac wants to cash in on that tech mindset crap going on in the automotive world right now. Cadillac obviously has to project a futuristic façade to try to pull the tech bros away from Tesla.
I’m not usually one to believe in range anxiety, preferring a smaller battery and lower environmental impact for my electric vehicles. But when I ran a Harley-Davidson LiveWire out of juice, it didn’t plummet several hundred feet and cause me to die. However many miles the eVOL is supposed to run on a charge, double it and I’d still be anxious. I’ll keep my feet (and tires) on Terra Firma, please and thank you.