If you’re hoping Tesla would help lead the future for flying cars, don’t hold your breath.
During his interview at the TED 2017 Conference in Vancouver, Tesla CEO Elon Musk knocked the idea completely, telling interviewer Chris Anderson that he’s “in favor of flying things” but not so much of the car variety, Inverse reported.
“There is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind-force generated will be very high … Let’s just say that if something’s flying over your head, if there are a whole bunch of flying cars all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation,” Musk said.
“You don’t think to yourself, ‘Well, I feel better about today,’” Musk continued. “You’re thinking, ‘Did they service their hubcap? Or is it going to come off and guillotine me as they’re flying past?’”
Musk’s anxiety-inducing hubcap guillotine hypothetical appears to be an anti-flying car talking point of his, as Inverse cited another go at the joke in Bloomberg from February:
“Obviously, I like flying things,” he says. “But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.” As long as the laws of physics hold, he explains, any flying car will need to generate a lot of downward force to stop it from falling out of the sky, which means wind and noise for those on the ground, not to mention debris from midair fender-benders. “If somebody doesn’t maintain their flying car, it could drop a hubcap and guillotine you,” he says. “Your anxiety level will not decrease as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.”
Musk’s criticism at the conference came days after the “Uber Elevate Summit,” the first-ever flying car conference hosted by Uber. The ride-hailing and driverless car-testing giant predicted it would be testing out its “commuter aircraft” by 2020.
The flying car diss also reflects the war between Tesla and Uber—Inverse reported in October that Musk equated Uber’s falling reputation with consumers to a case of “the people vs. Uber.”
But even if we don’t see Musk on some sort of standards board for flying cars in the future, at least we can looking forward to his idea for an underground tunnel network in Los Angeles. According to Musk, drivers could avoid “soul-destroying” traffic by driving atop trolley-like devices before being carried underground and resurfacing at access points, at which the next car could take the same device back underground.
Yes, yes—it certainly sounds like a subway for cars. But given that L.A.’s existing subway line is nearly invisible to Angelenos, maybe Musk’s idea isn’t too far-fetched.