We're starting to hear from Moller International again about its skycar, which is variously billed as a flying saucer, flying car, or flying vehicle.
This time around, there seem to be photos and videos of the product, plus you get the inevitable Jetsons references. Now this kind of story always gets writers and editors excited; just search Google News for "skycar" and you'll get a bunch of stories, with more probably on the way.
The problem is, Moller Int'l has tried to sell this concept before and was later revealed to be quite a dodgy company.
So much so that the SEC (The Securities and Exchange Commission, a U.S. regulatory body) filed a lawsuit against Moller Int and Paul Moller in 2003. The details are available on the SEC website at: http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/comp17987.htm
In fact, just google "Moller International" and the SEC page is the third link, just below Moller's own website.
In the introduction to the suit, the SEC said:
"This matter involves a fraudulent, unregistered offering and the filing of a fraudulent Form 10-SB by Moller International, Inc. ("MI" or "the company"), a California company engaged in the development of a personal aircraft known as "the Skycar."
Under the heading, "False and Misleading Statements and Omissions", the SEC said:
>>19. The promotional material used in this solicitation campaign contained materially false and misleading information.
20. For example, the Skycar, according to Moller, would allow any person to travel at speeds over 400 miles-per-hour in the uncluttered airspace above the roadways for about the same price as a luxury automobile. In MI investor newsletters, Moller projected that 10,000 Skycars would be sold by the end of 2002.
21. In reality, the Skycar was and still is a very early developmental-stage prototype that has no meaningful flight testing, proof of aeronautical feasibility, or proven commercial viability. <<
Maybe things have changed since then, but I feel this is really a case of caveat emptor, and the media should not get overly excited over this “flying saucer” until more tests are conducted.