Flying cars and next year

About 10 percent of the 12 readers of this blog read it because they keep thinking I’ll one day start blogging again about flying cars the way I did as a one-year experiment in 2008.

One of the reasons I picked flying cars during that one-year blogging exercise was the way in which I’ve observed for most of my life that one company or another can succeed each year in generating a flurry of publicity by claiming that they are a year away from mass production. (I won’t mention names, but the company that in 2008 was a year-away, recently put out a press release that in 2011, they are a year-away.)

Flying cars are great as a metaphor for those technologies that are long predicted, but never quite get here. Pretty much everything I’ve wanted is now available — the Dick Tracy watch, of course, is the iPhone — except legitimate Jetson-type flying cars. Being sort of like what Annie (comic strip characters are an accidental recurring theme in this post) sings about Tomorrow, “I love ya, flying cars, you’re always a day away.”

The Dilbert cartoon embedded above (thanks to Hammock’s in-house Dilbert-tracker, Bill Hudgins, for sending me that link) reminded me that little has changed since 2008. In reality, there are lots of flying cars in production — they’re not called flying cars, however. Primarily, they are called, “Ultra Light Aircraft.” And unlike the futuristic craft using some type of anti-gravity technology we all mean when we say “flying car,” the “roadable aircraft” (or some other term used to circumvent government regulations related to automobiles or aircraft) are more likely to look like the Wright Brothers than George Jetson.

One more thing about flying cars: In a September, 2006, post in which I shared a list of rumors (translation: predictions I mostly made up) about Apple (that have come true, for the most part), I included (#12 and #13) two predictions that fit into this post:

12. That Steve Jobs is retiring [Announced: August 24, 2011.].

13. That in honor of his retirement, Apple is coming out with a flying car.

We’re waiting, Cupertino.