Mii Cheil Tan – Strategy Team Lead

Where is my flying car?

A hundred years ago, futurists back then envisioned that life in the 21st century would be a breeze. Here is a list of things people expected to have today in the transportation sector:

  • Flying Cars
  • Railroad ships
  • Mobile pavements
  • Aquatic cars
  • Locomotive buildings

It seems that out of the 5 listed, we have achieved roughly 3 (?) of them..

1.    Mobile pavements as the modern day escalators and travelators. Check.
2.    Aquatic cars as submarines. Check.
3.    Locomotive buildings as RVs maybe..?

That isn’t too bad, we are past the halfway point (assuming the hand waving point about 3 is accepted). However, you might be wondering “What does this have to do with solar cars..?”. Well the truth is, our solar car is secretly a flying car. No, I’m just kidding.

The point that I’m trying to make is this:

People back then didn’t predict that solar cars would exist within the next 100 years. The invention of a (working) flying car seemed more likely than a sustainable electric vehicle. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Here we are, a group of university students dedicated to the project that has produced not just a solar car, but several solar cars. Seven to be precise. Of course, this group alone didn’t design and build all seven cars, but the spirit of discovery and innovation has prevailed since the project was established in 1997. That’s 17 years now! Equivalent in age to a brooding adolescent.

The community of solar car racing is a significant factor to the project’s evolution over time as the involvement with other groups dedicated to sustainable design on a global scale is an invaluable exposure that (in my opinion) can’t be achieved to the same extend as the usual classroom interactions can offer. The stark contrast between the project and school isn’t in terms of education, it’s the ability to change the course of history, one solar car at a time. The next time someone asks for a flying car, tell them that you found something even better.

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