No jetpacks. Zero flying cars. Where is the future we were promised?

Jetpacks and flying cars might seem more at home parked in the pages of sci-fi novels (and, uh, some magazines) than in your garage. In 1924, PopSci ­predicted that airborne autos were just 20 years away, but that wide-eyed optimism wasn’t without reason: Inventors have been tinkering their way toward revolutionary transit for more than a century. The Hyperloop’s ancestry starts in the 1870s. Cruise control debuted in the 1950s. The first air-car prototypes took flight in the same decade. And, in the ’60s, Bell Labs prototyped jet-­powered backpacks. These modes of future commuting are still navigating mass-market expectations: Is it safe? Reliable? Cheap? Here’s a realistic assessment of our people-moving dreams.