8 thoughts on “The Rural Landscape”

  1. The landscape described is not so much rural as near-wilderness. I live in a rural area, more than 50 miles from the nearest small city, more than 20 miles from the nearest WalMart, about 15 miles from the nearest grocery story. Most of the country roads are paved with asphalt, though quite a few are still gravel. I don’t need a flying car, and would regret it if my neighbors had them (most of us in this township live on 5 – 10 acres, which isn’t much separation), The thing that would make the most difference in my life would be a fully developed hyperloop network shadowing the Interstate and rail rights of way. If I could drive to the nearest highway exit (25 miles away), pull my car onto a sled and be whisked away at 400mph, I’d do so. Most of my family lives a thousand miles away.

  2. The likely first adopters of rural flying cars would be the sheriff’s departments, letting them cut down their response times to emergencies. Same for paramedics.

    When I was in the Alaskan Bush, the state police maintained a six-man SWAT Team of sorts in either Fairbanks or Anchorage (maybe both) and a helicopter on standby, to support their troopers in the Bush villages. This seems like the same idea, but less expensive and without needing a trained pilot.

  3. Walking pack robots — to carry cargo and even people through rough terrain

    I think this is the solution to our forestry problems. In order to prevent forest fires or keep them more manageable, we need a massive workforce to tend to the forests by pruning lower branches, cutting down trees to close to each other, dealing with excessive underbrush, and killing noxious weeds. It is a never ending task that requires an immense amount of manpower that we don’t and will never have.

    The challenge is in powering them in remote locations and keeping the maintenance costs per robot lower than hiring a person.

    Some people are dedicated to keeping technology out of forests but it is likely that technology will allow us to make nature healthier for flora and fauna.

    I would love to have a pack bot when hiking and I am sure hunters would find them useful as well.

    1. To many governments do not want to trim the forests to prevent fires. In much of California it is illegal to remove dead trees. They refused to spend federal dollars that were allocated for that purpose.
      No bots can fix that level of stupid.

  4. I wasn’t impressed.

    The article was a typical Green Daydream, that missed challenges and ignored other opportunities (for example, regulations limiting gas flares have forced the shale industry to build gas pipelines and deliver massive amounts of virtually free methane to market just as a byproduct of drilling for oil–this is completely changing both the power grid and the chemical industry). Hyperloop construction and maintenance is not going to be orders of magnitude cheaper than a subway, which means it won’t reach far from the cities. 3D printing wasn’t even mentioned. There isn’t enough lithium in the crust to support the qWh needed to use solar as baseload, and battery tech, while it has enabled camera drones and small flying cars, is not improving fast enough to provide the extra orders of magnitude required anytime soon. Many office jobs can transition to telecommuting, but not field jobs, not without telerobotics that are better and cheaper than hiring a person (at least a generation away). And so on, and so on.

    I wouldn’t mind having a personal flying car, but I bet the FAA would, given that they just gave themselves full authority to regulate even camera drones a few months ago.

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