Back in 1989, when the makers of Back to the Future Part II put their vison of a futuristic 2015 onto the big screen, the result brought us hover boards, self-lacing trainers, and a really bad CGI shark effect.
But the main technological advancement Doc Brown and Marty McFly encountered was the flying car. Now that 2015 has been and gone, the reality turned out to be a stark contrast to the fantasy (although the rise of self-driving cars does now seem more of a reality than science fiction).
And yet, recent advancements in the world of motoring have suggested that perhaps the filmmakers weren't that far off after all.
Firstly, Uber has announced it will be investing in a new division called Uber Elevate, which will be responsible for the development of flying cars. The online transportation network company, which helps connect its app users to self-employed drivers, has enlisted the help of an ex-NASA engineer, Mark Moore, to help them reach this fascinating goal.
While working at NASA, Moore's most ground-breaking achievement was the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Uber now plans to take the VTOL aircraft and develop the technology a step further, creating a flying mode of transportation to be used by the masses.
Uber has big plans for their flying vehicles, hoping that by implementing a fleet of airborne taxis into cities, they will help reduce congestion. According to the Financial Times, the company released a white paper detailing its ambitious aims.
"On-demand aviation has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes," the paper stated. "Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground."
It really does seem odd to imagine a car that travels by air and not by land.
But there's no need to imagine – the world's first commercially-available flying car exists, and can be pre-ordered for the sum of $399,000, which is about £320,405 (and that's just the base model). The Liberty Sport and Liberty Pioneer vehicles were developed by the Dutch company PAL-V, taking 15 years to manufacture.
The models use a retractable top-mounted rotor blade and two engines to help get their three wheels off the ground, making it look like a cross between a helicopter and a sports car. The promise of soaring high above fellow motorists as they sit stuck in a traffic jam thousands of feet below may sound appealing to many, but the new creation cannot be driven/flown just anywhere by anybody. It requires at least 590 feet of space to lift off the ground and you will need a flying licence to operate it.
First deliveries of the models are scheduled in Europe for late 2018. Similar models are in production, too, such as the Terrafugia Transition and the AeroMobil 3.0, but it can be safely said that none of these models will be replacing the family hatchback any time soon.
Nevertheless, the progress made in alternative transport modes is astounding. These vehicles may previously have been thought of as the stuff of science-fiction, but a city full of flying vehicles may not be quite as far-fetched as it seemed a few decades ago.
The future of car insurance
We believe that technological advancements should be used to make the roads safer. While the world's first flying car truly is something to behold, the tech still has a long way to go before it catches on in a similar way to GPS tracker insurance.
Giving you the freedom to improve your driving, the ability to track your car if it's stolen, and the possibility of getting the best possible price on your premium at renewal, Coverbox's black box device is a marvel of a smaller variety.
Coverbox, the future of telematics is here.