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Flying cars may be poised to take off, but survey shows Americans want a parachute

Flying cars are beginning to look less like science fiction these days, with big companies and small start-ups developing working prototypes. Nothing’s commercially available yet, but experts say highway vehicles with wings are possible over the next five to 10 years.

What do consumers think? Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation Program conducted a nationwide survey and found:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are familiar with the concept of flying cars — though, curiously, 78% of men surveyed were familiar compared with 53% of women.

The most likely benefit of flying cars: shorter travel time, according to three-quarters of those surveyed.

About 63% said they’re “very concerned” about flying car safety, but the other 37% said they’re not.

What about flying cars in congested airspace, or flying cars in poor weather? The breakdown is similar.

Flying at night? Not a problem. Less than half are “very concerned.”

As for takeoff and landing, most respondents — 83% — would prefer vertical launch to taking flight runway-style. (The survey didn’t ask, but earth-bound cars and truck drivers may feel even more strongly about it.)

Nearly 80% said a parachute would be “very” or “extremely” important.

SurveyMonkey polled Americans 18 and older from its respondent database and received 508 fully completed surveys. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level for the overall results is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

russ.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @russ1mitchell


UPDATES:

10:20 a.m. This article was updated with details of the survey methodology.

This article was originally published at 10 a.m.

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