So it turns out that we'll get bona fide flying cars well before the world descends into a Blade Runner-esque nocturnal urban nightmare. A company called Terrefugia has unveiled its 'roadable light sport aircraft' at the 2012 New York Auto Show, Inhabitat reports. They are officially on sale, and a handful of rich people will be living out their boyhood dreams in mere months.
They cost $300,000 and are said to be available later this year—10 people have already coughed up their $10,000 deposits.
If you are rich, and want to purchase one, you will still need your pilot's license before you can pretend you're Bruce Willis in the Fifth Element. Also, flying cars evidently burn 5 gallons of gas an hour, and provide no discernible advantage over regular private jets—except perhaps, that the driver gets to show off that he owns and operates a super-cool and cutting edge private jet/tech toy to everyone he passes on the way to the airfield.
The inventors of the Terrefugia Transition are capitalizing on a well-established fantasy—like jet-packs, flying cars are part of the fabric of a mythical futuristic landscape that has permanently captured the imagination of millions of erstwhile adolescents. Sure, it is cool. But there is no promise of actual improvement to society from this invention, it is a facelift on a kind of luxury vehicle already owned by the very wealthy. It is yet another expensive, resource-consuming, big ticket item designed to titillate our consumerist impulses—and given the rising costs of oil, it is very unlikely to represent the future of anything.