Image: Uber

Look at this thing. Uber calls it an “aerial taxi.” Our friends at Gizmodo call it a “flying car.” But it’s not. There are airplanes. There are helicopters. There’s no such thing as a flying car, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

Look at that absolute nonsense. Yes, it looks like ten whirling death blades of flying mediocrity. Yes, it looks like a helicopter. Yes, it might even look like an airplane. But what it is definitely NOT is a flying car.

Now I hate to be the one to be the bearer of news like this, friend. We’ve all wanted flying cars. We all want to believe, deep down, that it’s something that could happen within our lifetimes. We’ve got watches that function like TV remotes now, after all, so why not flying cars? We’re in the future, after all.

And there have been a host of charlatans who would like you to believe that they have created flying “cars.” There’s these people and these people and these people and these people. Even Gizmodo’s own Matt Novak, usually someone who is Good and Excellent, was drawn onto the rocks of the flying car sirens (hi Matt).

But those are not flying cars. Again, take this new one, from Uber:

Image: Uber

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That’s not a flying car. Uber calls it an “aerial taxi,” which is just a fancy combination of words that are meant to imply “flying car.” It is not a flying car. It’s a helicopter, one that switches from vertically-propelled flight into horizontal flight by means of a forward-facing propeller and wings, where it becomes an airplane. At NO POINT does it become a car. It is lies.

There’s this one, from a startup backed by Toyota:

Image: Joby Aviation

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That is also an aircraft. Specifically, it’s a tiltrotor like the V-22 Osprey. But where the Osprey has two huge rotors, this one makes do with 12 absurdly tiny ones. This is also not a car. It is lies.

Here’s one that dispenses with the helicopter concept entirely:

Photo: Aeromobil

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As those with eyes can tell you, that is an airplane. I don’t care that the wings fold back, lots of airplanes have folding wings. It makes them airplanes. It does not make them flying cars. It is lies.

Our own Jason Torchinsky would tell you that flying cars are never going to happen, for they require not drivers, but pilots. Pilots who need training and certification and re-training and re-certification, because humans can barely handle driving in two dimensions, let alone flying in three. And he’s right, but also, all we’ve seen are airplanes and helicopters.

We have not seen any flying cars, because they don’t exist. The technology doesn’t exist, and will not exist for the foreseeable future. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you an airplane or a helicopter, and calling it a “flying car.” If airplanes are now just flying cars, then we’ve had flying cars for over a 100 years now.

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(We have not had flying cars for over 100 years now. We’ve had airplanes. And helicopters.)

You might think I’m being a bit draconian, that I’m being too harsh. Didn’t Back to the Future, Part II have flying cars? Wasn’t the DeLorean in that a flying car after all?

Photo: The Future, Which Does Not Exist Yet

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And to that I say that yes, it was a flying car. It didn’t have wings or rotors to keep it aloft. It had anti-gravity devices fitted to the wheels, and it was a flying car.

But it was fictional. It was lies.

There is no such thing as a flying car. All we have is lies.