Flying cars: coming soon to your city?

Companies creating flying electric taxis are attracting a lot of attention in Silicon Valley these days. But are their nascent lithium-ion powered aircraft actually viable, or are they simply the latest overhyped fad for techno-optimist venture capitalists to sink their copious cash into?

A recent report from engineers at Carnegie Mellon University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that battery-powered urban aircraft are well within the bounds of technological reality and could appear in everyday life surprisingly soon.

Co-authors Shashank Sripad and Venkatasubramanian Viswanathan are likely entranced by the notion of flying cars, along with many others excited for future science and technology. But, as scientists, they must temper their optimism with evidence-based skepticism.