Designing a sort of cyper-punkish, futuristic megacity where flying cars have been adopted as opposed to land-based cars to create more space on land and to reduce traffic issues.

It can be assumed that these flying cars work in similar ways to land-based cars (except they fly), so what kind of safety features would a flying car/vehicle like this need to have to be safe and functional in that kind of situation?

One idea I had is having a T shaped rear light that is constantly on, and spans the whole width of the vehicle, and down to the bottom, meaning people can see your orientation, how wide the vehicle is and an approximation of the 'danger-zone' around the vehicle.

(I'm not actually able to delete this question, however thank you to those who gave me a few ideas regardless. Due to the massive volume of variables that are involved, I don't think it can really be edited to fit the guidelines.)


closed as too broad by Rekesoft, Gryphon, user535733, JBH, Mołot Oct 25 '18 at 15:16

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ You should add some more info. These flying cars fly like planes, or follow roads like normal cars, only hovering? Are they allowed to fly following any path, or are there airways and airstreets in the cities? Which is their maximum speed? Height ceiling? Depending on those characteristics the safety measures are wildly different. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Oct 25 '18 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ Are they piloted manually? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Oct 25 '18 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ You might look into ultralight aviation, particularly as it related to the US, where qualifying vehicles can be operated without any special training or licensing. That said, there are a lot of restrictions on weight, speed, fuel, and location (no ultralights over cities, for instance). But it will give you a starting point. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Oct 25 '18 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ It is inappropriate, SE is not a discussion forum. SE's Q&A model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer. Additionally, this appears to suffer for a lack of research. Why does combining the functionality of planes and cars not solve your problem? Externally observable orientation was solved nearly 100 years ago. $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 25 '18 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ Flying cars are kinda real already - why don't you just use safety features they actually have? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Oct 25 '18 at 15:17

Barring 100% autopilot, a proper safety feature would be a system that:

  • Detects and prevents collisions. System has sensors on the vehicle, and it broadcasts position, speed, and direction to other cars, so they can coordinate.

  • Avoids designated areas. Not just White house, but 500 feet above residential areas.

  • Keeps doors and windows closed while flying, ensures that windows are intact.

  • Detects any technical issues. If any sign of trouble is found, system prevents takeoff, or safely lands the vehicle on autopilot.

  • Communicates with police/traffic control to confirm that system is operational, and vehicle is safe to fly. Any vehicle without that signal gets scooped up, by a giant butterfly net (if you just shoot it down, it will fall on innocent people).

The risks you have to guard against are:
- Drunk, distracted or inexperienced pilots
- Breakdown in mid-trip
- Pranks, littering and invasion of privacy
- Deliberate terrorism or crime

With land cars, you can prevent it with gates, barriers, and roads. Also the speeds are slower, so driver both driver and potential victims have time to react. Finally, if a car is close enough to hurt you, you can see its license plate.

Flying cars can move in 3 dimensions, so barriers do not work. You will not have time to see and react to a vehicle that is in a free-fall, or out of control. You will not see the any details of a car that dropped a soda bottle on the head of your child.

Current small planes do pose all of these dangers, but they have high cost and licensing requirements that keep irresponsible people from using them. There are also relatively few of them, so you can easily find any mis-behaving pilots.

  • $\begingroup$ Something like a combination of ADS-B In/Out and TCAS connected to the autopilot and having the ability to override the pilot's commands, you mean? (In our world, TCAS, or Traffic Collision Avoidance System, will give Resolution Advisories but leave the ultimate decision to the pilot, on the assumption that (a) the pilot knows what they are doing, and (b) the pilots want to survive.) $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 25 '18 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding speed, I've actually flown an airplane just recently at a ground speed of maybe 10-20 km/h. The trick? Ground speed is not air speed, and for airplanes, what matters is air speed, not ground speed. Reasonably low air speed directly into a headwind will do that. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 25 '18 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ @α CVn♦ and what was your ground speed when you turned around, and got a tailwind? $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Oct 25 '18 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Somewhere around 100-110 km/h, IIRC. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 26 '18 at 10:58

Heavily cushioned base with a low centre of gravity; seats with heavy hydraulic dampening; seatbelts; multiple small reinforced windows instead of a large windscreen; height limiters built in; default forced landing in case of emergency, with regularly spaced emergency landing areas; very loud, very annoying fuel, battery, etc., warnings, that won't allow takeoff at less than 30% optimum levels.


The trouble with questions of this type is that the answers are open ended lists which isn't appropriate to the format. However there's one critical aspect that makes most of the others redundant.

  • Permanent autopilot with no possibility of manual control

and I'm afraid you're not getting your personal flying vehicle until that's how they operate.

  • $\begingroup$ when outside the city or on a closed track manual flying should be possible. $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Oct 25 '18 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak, why? 90% of users are borderline dangerous with a ground based vehicle $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 25 '18 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix 90% is very optimistic ;) $\endgroup$ – Alexander von Wernherr Oct 25 '18 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ because there will be people that wanna race or do stunts $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Oct 25 '18 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak ... and that is precisely why you're never going to be allowed to. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Oct 25 '18 at 13:21

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