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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"They swear there was a memo."
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February 01 2007

Mule won't run with five, but will run with two wounded. A real Hover-Mule?

A company from Israel working on Flying Cars, calls their small utility vehicle a "Mule." Someday, we might really be yelling "Get on the Mule!" without meaning a donkey.

The flying car engineer is a Serenifly fan. And I think Joss has mentioned loving flying cars.
It's the year 2007. I want my flying car! (And, honestly, I wouldn't want a Mule, since it would remind me too much of an SUV.)
People already say "Get on the Mule" without meaning a donkey. Mule is a common name for utility vehicles (motorized buggies).
It will be cool if we will have hover cars (and even better if they will be a Israeli invention). Wierd that when they mentioned the uses of such vehicles they neglected to mention their use in making sci-fi movies.
Does this mean we all have to start wearing silver suits and eating dinner in pill form ? Cos i'm not sure i'm really into that.

Still, at least the arrival of the future finally means an end to war and famine. Right ?
As long as it doesn't get marketed to the general public, I'm good. People have enough trouble driving in two dimensions, can't imagine what rush hour would look like if we were able to use three.

On a more serious note, I wonder how robust the vehicle really would be in a real world, urban environment, particularly in the case of a disaster. There would be an awful lot of debris that has the potential to damage the fans. It is an interesting concept although I agree in wondering about whether it would be possible to develop a vehicle such as this that would have a sufficient endurance and be able to carry a useful load.
"My visions of the future are always pretty much standard issue. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and there are flying cars." - Jossir, TV Guide, 27 December 2 January, 2004, and the foreword to Fray

Saje, it also means that we'll all be trading in our names for numbers. Though on Whedonesque, Joss's has already been changed to #9966ff.
So true, gt0163c. I think this guy's got the right idea having them be rescue/military/law enforcement vehicles. I would think one of the advantages of contained rotors is that they could be protected by screens.

Saje, don't reject the future out of hand. Maybe the silver suits are really comfy and made of high-tech sweat-wicking stuff, and the dinner pills come in fur-flavored.
Also, we have to say "Mars will explode!" more often.
I love how the design is still essentially at concept stage - but they already have a price.
Dreamlogic, there's still issues with screens. Less chance of fodding (FOD=Foreign object debris or Foreign object damage) a fan, but screen cut down on air flow, especially if they're fine enough to keep out smaller pieces of stuff. And there's the issue of the screens getting clogged with stuff. Countering nonsymmetric lift would be an interesting challenge.

Not saying any of these problems couldn't be overcome, but whenever you increase your motion by a dimension, you increase your difficulty by a couple of orders of magnitude (at least).
Saje, it also means that we'll all be trading in our names for numbers. Though on Whedonesque, Joss's has already been changed to #9966ff.

Damnit, "I am not a number, I am a free man ! I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own". Fight the future ! *deep breaths* Ah, em, might have over-reacted slightly there ;).

You have to watch out for fur-flavoured pills, sometimes it's not genuine fur extract but some artificial substitute.

Here's some footage of the mock-up they showed at Farnborough. From that video it looks a bit like dual counter-rotating rotors front and rear to offset the torque/yaw effect but I can't quite tell and i've no sound at work so the - assumed - commentary can't shed any light. The smaller enclosed props at the back are presumably for both steering and propulsion which might make the craft more stable since you wouldn't need to pitch for lateral motion ? (not an aeronautical engineer though, nor do I play one on TV, though there've been brief appearances on stage).
The Serenity Mule is still at Universal Studios, California.

Zengrrl wrote on Feb 1 2007, 01:19 AM on post

Yes, it's still there, on the studio tour (as SyracuseFirefly said). It's near the beginning of the tour as you approach the car area on the left side, in the middle of the row of movie vehicles, just past the Animal House tank/car, IIRC. I have some photos of it up here:

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2007-02-04 06:33 ]
Military tactical vehicles tend to run with as much armor and other protection as they can bear, which in the case of aircraft is very little. But I think screens are light and could be engineered to flow much more out than in. And the connections between the engines and the rotors could also be capable of emergency brief reverse to blow out FOD, if there's enough altitude.

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