Source: The Mercury, 23 March, 2001, p.5
TRAVELLING to work like George Jetson could be only a few years away, says the inventor of the revolutionary Skycar. Dr Paul Moller unveiled his life's work at the Big Boys Toys exhibition in Sydney yesterday. The US inventor spent almost 40 years and close to $US200 million ($A406.09 million) developing the machine, a sort of flying car he described as "the mechanical version of the hummingbird." "I think it is reasonable to believe that 25% of the population will be using the Skycar within 10 years, and that 90% will be using it within 25 years," Dr Moller said. He said the Skycar would offer twice the cruise speed of a light helicopter, with a vertical take-off and landing capability. Its rotary engines would run on standard automotive fuel and be less expensive to buy and run. "Our purpose is to develop and put into use personal transport vehicles that are as safe, efficient affordable and easy-to-use as automobiles ... not constrained by existing transportation networks," Dr Moller said. While the Skycar had strong appeal as a commuter vehicle, the first major user would be the US military, which had already successfully tested it, he said. "I believe a country the size of Australia could see the use of such a revolutionary transportation alternative for coastal patrol, police, fire, search and rescue, even express parcel delivery," he said. He added there would be little conflict with existing airlines, because the Skycar would not fly above 8000m at any time. The Big Boys Toys exhibition opened yesterday at Darling Harbour. Managing director Gary Kendall said he expected 60,000 people through the doors this weekend. He said the show was "bigger and better" than last year, offering 15,000sq m of "the stuff dreams are made of". Two-hundred companies will exhibit products such as motor yachts, racing cars, performance and classic cars, motorcycles, aircraft, hovercraft and "get-up- and go sporting equipment". AAP
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