1992-08-01

Starcar Design and GPS Control 921569

This paper explores a new transportation concept based on a confluence of aeronautical, automotive, and information technologies. The concept employs the Navstar Global Positioning System for navigation and control, Skyways to manage flight operations, and Starcars that function as automobiles and airplanes.The role of the Global Positioning System is to locate the Starcars within the Skyways accurately enough to facilitate automatic landings. To prove the feasibility of precision GPS control, we equipped an automobile with a differential GPS control system and sophisticated estimation software. The vehicle can steer itself around a prescribed path with accuracies within 1 m.Modern kit airplanes are about ten times more efficient than automobiles for travel at high speeds. The paper presents a specific Starcar design that combines features of a Lancair 320 airplane and Mazda RX-7 automobile. The Starcar is five times more efficient than the automobile but about half as efficient as the airplane, perhaps a reasonable price for portal-to-portal convenience.

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