Flying Cars, Drone Taxis and Other Futuristic Personal Transportation
While many of us long for the days to come in which our sedans or SUVs can suddenly sprout wings, taking us far away from congestive traffic blocking up interstate highways, there have been some developments in recent years bringing us closer to the reality of drone taxis or personal unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as a replacement for cars. Such technologies were the focus of discussion at the recent House Aviation Subcommittee hearing on new aircraft technologies. Flying cars and their development is not limited to the United States as recent reports indicate that several Japanese companies are working on a project roadmap for flying car development that will be released by the end of this year. In late August, Uber announced that it was looking into the potential of developing test sites for flying cars in five countries outside of the U.S. With the future of flying vehicles for personal transportation coming into more focus, we wanted to explore filings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see the current state of flying car technologies, both in the patent grants being issued by the UPSTO as well as in the patent applications being filed at the agency.