Synergy and its progeny are the future our great-grandparents built 20,000 rural airports for, yet its capabilities reward their foresight with the most daunting business challenge their forgotten industry has seen in decades: extreme demand, but near-zero institutional investment, awareness, or long-term industrial vision.
A billion cars prove the demand for user-operated, unscheduled private transportation. In 2015, auto manufacturers produced an average of 246,000 vehicles PER DAY. Today, a phenomenal aircraft success story might reach the stunning volume of… one overpriced, impractical vehicle per day…yet orders still backlog into the thousands. And unlike waiting patiently for your Tesla while driving your Toyota, reasonable interim options for the future smartplane buyer are nil.
This latent demand, acquired during half a century of waiting for affordable personal flight to arrive, requires new thinking. Even with Synergy’s ultra-simplified modular design, low cost tooling, and revolutionary process times, the hype cycle of exponential demand will never align to a linear pace of delivery. We are tackling that problem foremost by developing brilliant, scalable methods for low cost mass production and by making the case for massive societal investment in the overlooked opportunity of personal flight.
Positive regulatory progress is already happening swiftly in response to the safety and cost advantages of smart, semi-autonomous technologies for simplified operations in small aircraft. Whereas self driving cars are just emerging, self-flying airplanes have been a reality for decades. (There’s literally an app for that.)
Long before mass production can create any potential for significant numbers of people owning aircraft, new regulations and smartplane (TM) operator requirements being considered reflect an enlightened regulatory awareness of their potential for increased safety. What holds things up right now isn’t the technologies, but rather the airplanes that could use them. When growth begins, most of the work allowing responsible deployment of newly demonstrated and certified capabilities will already have been accomplished.
The vast empty skies can stay that way, too. Actually, “air traffic” is a bit of an oxymoron; a concept related to scheduling huge airliners onto the same patch of urban concrete every few minutes. The narrow, 2-D ribbons of vehicular congestion we drive on the ground also paint a greatly distorted picture. Pilots escaping the traffic prison marvel at the truth, which is that one can fly all day yet never even see the occasional fellow aviator pointed out on his screen, many miles away.
Really, the potential for quiet, roomy, fast, fundamentally efficient personal aircraft is many times beyond typical estimates, in which the above has been far out of reach. With early adoption will come the realization that a mile of old highway can only take you a mile. In Synergy, a half mile of grass strip can take you ANYWHERE.