Flying cars have been a staple of lofty technology goals since The Jetsons graced our televisions in the early 60s. Since then, automakers, entrepreneurs, and emboldened innovators have tried to make this futuristic means of transportation a reality. However, with no notable success stories and plenty of naysayers, the idea of a flying car gets more ridiculous every day. But now, one startup is making progress, and they’re backed by a pretty notable Japanese automaker: Toyota.
Cartivator Resource Managementreceived a $400,000 investment from Toyota to bring their project to life. And if the technology wasn’t lofty enough, they’re projected unveiling will see their flying car hoisting the iconic Olympic flame to light the torch at the Tokyo games in 2020.
“Within Toyota, we are advancing broad research and development on ways of transportation — including aerial solutions — that can lead to a prosperous society in the future,” the company said in a statement.
Aerial solutions is putting it lightly. While the company has admitted they are in the very early stages of the project (so much so that they aren’t even considering commercialization options yet), they remain confident in their ability to test a manned flight by 2019.
If you rolled your eyes at that projection, you’re not the only one. Newsworthy innovator Elon Musk has spoken out on multiple occasions, claiming that not only would flying cars be incredibly unsafe, they’d also be really annoying.
“There is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind force generated will be very high,” said Musk, adding, “If something’s flying over your head and there’s a whole bunch of flying cars going all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation. You’re thinking, ‘Did they service their hubcap, or is it going to come off and guillotine me?'”
Musk’s skepticism aside, if Toyota and Cartivator can pull it off, by all means. Flying cars are a necessary piece on our futuristic technology bingo, and we need to check it off. Whether or not flying cars will prove useful, affordable, or safe at all remains to be seen. But sometimes, technology has to be about “coulda,” not “shoulda.”