Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Transcript - flying cars etc.

Class: Informatics, Computing, and the Future
Instructor: Dan Berleant
Transcriber: Brooke Yu
Date: Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Professor:  Well, here we are.  We've gone through two or three lectures where we talked about all the reasons why you can't predict the future, and we're going to try today anyway. 

Today, this is what we'll talk about: people are always interested in flying cars and jetpacks.  I think someone a few semesters ago did their project on it.  I'll show you two companies today that are getting closer to producing flying cars and jet pakcks.  I think at some point it'll happen.  So we'll talk a little bit about that, and I'll show you websites and a couple of videos of these things. 

Then we'll move on to an actual movie which is a depiction of global warming worse case.  It's long, so we'll probably do half it today and half of it next time. 

Male Student:  Remember that hugo chavez thing for the intrade thing?  He just died, so a lot of people got money from that. 

Professor:  Yeah, a lot of people try to hide things until they just can't anymore.  Any questions?  Before we start, remember that the homework is due Thursday.  We're sort of in the video segment of the course, so it's about the video.  Any questions about the homework?  Okay, let's go and check out videos and information about flying cars and jet packs, and then worse case global warming. 

Here's an experimental flying car.  It kind of looks like a plane, but up close it's not that un car like here, you drive on the highway to get to the airport and then you spread your wings and take off. 

So it's called the transition because it can transition between both. 

It's a pretty small company.  They were supposed to have these things for sale by now, but they're not yet.  You can pre-order one, but you can't get it yet. 

Here's a little bit about some of the specs.  

It doesn't go that fast, but it does go 115 miles per hour, which is fine I guess for a car.  You can cruise at 105 miles an hour.  490 mile range, which might be better than a lot of cars you need a run way, so you can't take off in your drive way.  If the highway was three lanes wide I guess you could try to do that. 

23 gallon gas tank.  Pretty good for a car, but not unusual 35 miles per gallon.  It doesn't say what it does the air.  5 gallons per hour, and that's probably at a cruise of 105 miles an hour, so that means it'll go... how many gallons per mile is that? 

Male Student:  That's 21. 

Professor:  Yeah, 5 gallons to go 1 hour, so 21 miles a gallon.  It's not great, but it's not outrageous either. 

What else can we say about it? 

Oh, Cairo area holds golf clubs.  If you can afford one of these guys you can probably afford some golf clubs to put in it.  It comes with a parachute just in case, you know. 

Carry on luggage.  And you could become a sport pilot in little at 20 hours of flight time. 

This is the price [On board.] 

So let's see a little bit about it.  I want to show you the videos. 

So this is relatively new.  You can't buy them yet, but they're working on it. 

This is a really big day.  This is probably the biggest day we've had. 
Professor:  This is a company website and I'm not sponsoring it.  It's just


No one has ever developed a flying car like this.  Here he comes! 


Phil is our test pilot.  He's a retired colonel in the air force.  The transition is in very good hands. 

There's always this "will it actually work."  And what we're here to show is that it's really working.  Everything is really working.  So this is a big day for us. 

What we're going to do now is we're going to convert the transition from drive mode to flight mode.  Phil is depressing two buttons on the panel.  There's a screen.  That is telling him the status of deployement.  Once the wings have deployed, the panel will show I'm if the wings are down and locked.  The conversion takes less than a minute.  It's like putting the top down on your car. 

It transitions so fast.   It was incredible. 

He's up. 

No speed zones up here! 

Phil's going to do a turn out there and he's going to come right out around the runway. 

Looks like a real airplane to me. 

Its taken so long to get to the point where we are now and to have everything come together and have no little glitches. 

It's huge. 

Phil's going to come back in and we're going to convert back to car ode. 

It's amazing.  Incredible.  It's the Jetson's.  It really is. 

What you're seeing here is the fastest conversion of any flying car ever.  Flying cars go back to the 19 teens.  This is the best attempt though. 


Maybe our son will have a flying car to go to the prom in. 

I think more people will start developing more flying cars. 

It's just the beginning because now we have something that is solid and we can get out there and start getting them into the hands of our customers.  It's fun. 

Professor:  Well we should probably process this a little bit what do you think?  Any comments? 

Professor:  Uh, I don't know.  That weather was pretty good on the video.  I don't know what would happen. 

Male Student:  Where can I get one? 

Professor:  Well, you can order them right now.  I don't know when they'll be ready though.  I've heard they're going to start making them in small quantities pretty soon, and then when they can ramp up mass production they will.  I think for $279,000 they won't sell a huge number of them

Male Student:  What about no fly zones? 

Professor:  Well, what did they say- 20 hours of flight instruction.  You have to land this thing! 

Male Student:  Your insurance is going to be ridiculous

Professor:  What if, you know, the big three automakers are making these in detroit for $30,000? 

Male Student:  There just seems like so much that could go wrong. 

Male Student:  But so much could go right! 

Male Student:  They did a full protocol on this last year, right? 

Professor:  They've been in business several years.  Last year they showed a test flight. 

Male Student:  I remember reading an article about it.  To actually use a dedicated flight zone, you'd have to known how to fly and you'd need clearance from the air ports too.  It's sort of a scheduled thing. 

Professor:  Right.  You know, if you had 200,000 of these things flying around, they'd have to come up with rules of the road for the airways or people would be colliding in the air.   Any other comments? 

Well, alright. 

I wouldn't mind having one, but I don't have $279,000 to send them.  Let's look at another way to get to work or to school.  You know, if you don't have a place to take off in your flying car, maybe you can make it to class in your jet pack.  This company has been trying to build these things for a couple of years. 

It's not an airplane.  You think of a jet pack as something you strap on your back.  It's not quite like that, but it's pretty close.  Let's look at their latest video. 

Okay, that was pretty short. 


You can't do what we want to do.  You'd have to make a big leap.   This is a big step we'd have to jump over. 

Professor:  This is a new Zealand company. 


We restricted it to 5,000 feet.  Now we'll go back and analyze it, but I think it could go higher. 

Male Student:  Have you seen the one that uses water to fly? 

Male Student:  Its height is limited because it's attached to a little dingy thing

Male Student:  It funnels water through it so you can float above the water. 

Male Student:  Yeah, that flyboard one. 

Professor:  Oh, this one. 


Male Student:  That was way cooler than what I was talking about.  It was like a whole backpack you put on.  I guess that's a new model. 

Male Student:  You should look at.....

Professor:  Is it a youtube thing? 

Male Student:  Yeah


Professor:  Okay, when we finish watching this one we'll talk about which is beater for getting to class and which would be more fun. 


I am set. 

Professor:  Okay.  So I'm writing down a bunch of different options here. 

If I missed some let me know. 

So we saw flying cars, jet packs, the water jet packs, wing suits- so this guy is basically wearing a suit with wings and he has an engine on it somewhere.  There's also something called powered parachuting. 

Male Student:  Yeah there was a guy who would do it.  It was like one of those fan boats and he had a parachute on it. 

Male Student:  I think we should look that up.  I don't know what that is. 

Professor:  There's another one where you wear a propeller and the parachute with the propeller- the propeller pushes you forward, and if your parachute is here and you're kind of here... you have a fan on your back so it pushes you forward, and the whole thing tilts, and since it tilts upwards, it catches the wind and you can fly.  Imagine a parachute like this and you hit the air and you'll go up or forward, so you can flying with these rectangular parachutes.  You can go about 30 miles an hour. 

So that's powered parachuting.  Then there are hang gliders.  Have you guys seen those?  You just jump off these big cliffs and glide down. 

Anybody ever been to Mt. Magazine and seen these things? 

So which of these do you think is best?  Which do you think is better? 

Male Student:  Well, wing suits you have to be at a high elevation to start or it's pointless.  So there's that limitation. 

Male Student:  Flying cars you have to go to an airport. 

Male Student:  I feel like jet packs couldn't carry much fuel to get you very far. 

Male Student:  And they're really loud.  You couldn't sneak up on anybody. 

Male Student:  And the hang gliders you have to start at a high elevation too. 

Professor:  Well, I'm wondering if it's just power.  Like if you ran fast it would work.  I used to think that would be a lot of fun. 

Male Student:  What about rocket boots? 

Male Student:  Or iron man suits. 

Professor:  Well, a couple of years ago the Arkansas newspaper asked for- or we heard they were asking for futuristic stories written by faculty, and I wrote a paragraph about going to school in a jet pack and they printed it. 

This is pretty cool.  Maybe some day we'll be taking those to work and to class. 

And there's another topic- we're go to talk about global warming.  Before you go to the movie about global warming, any last comments on flying cars or jet packs?  Okay, this is completely different.  ABC the company came out the a movie a few years ago called earth 2100. 

It was about what's going to happen by the year 2100- worst case of global warming.  So some people object to worse case scenarios, but it's a movie so you won't have a good movie unless you go worst case.  It is plausible though.  You can't rule it out

And it's not a regular feature movie, so it's animated in some ways.  It's low budget, but I think it's pretty well done. 

Like I mentioned, it's 84 minutes long, so we'll finish it next time, but let's get started on it.  It's subtitled. 




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