Sunday, 29 May 2016

The G7 and the Currency Barrier

What the world needs is a few good men and women who are prepared to begin to make decisions that will lead to greater trade, a reduction in poverty and a significant improvement in the outlook of the global economy. A key issue that currently straddles trade in the global economy is the straight jacket created by the existence of just a few hard currencies that can be used directly in international trade. These are a select few and are an integral part of the G7, they include the United States dollar, British Pound, the European Unions Euro and Japan's Yen. Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) moved to add China's Yuan as one of its reserve currencies. Having written an article concerning the recent and ongoing inflation crisis in Zambia it is good news to hear that China has been inducted into the IMF's reserve currency portfolio. Inclusion is the right direction. However, the G7 being comprised of the wealthiest and most industrialized nations on the globe represents both an opportunity and a hindrance to the capacity of leaders to make decisions that will significantly impact global economic development. It must inevitably be asked whether the induction and creation of a new "slave master" by the IMF is truly noble and worthy of genuine praise. Is the IMF not simply promoting a slave currency to a master currency while other nations in Africa and across the world continue to suffer from exclusion? Is this the answer to the question humanity needs addressed? The real problem is how to create a genuine and truly greater inclusiveness and financial equality between nations and the governments of the world that developing countries sorely need.


G7: Masters of the new financial slave trade implemented
through the currency barrier.

The G7 and the Perpetuation of Financial Slavery

G7 members preside over a currency system
that enslaves poorer nations and weaker economies
consequently perpetuating poverty in countries across the world.


G7 nations and countries in general with internationally traded hard currencies are no different from the notorious European slave traders of the 18th Century sitting on a financial empire, setting up plantations in the Americas and fueling the demand for slaves in Africa. 

What is unfortunate is that modern day civilizations, nations and governments have today been led to believe that they must "earn" their right to be human beings. In other words their currencies must meet certain standards or reach certain criteria to be "worthy" of being a reserve currency and more importantly being able to demand goods and services directly from the international market without the requirement of first being exchanged for a reserve currency. This is evident in the fact that the government of Zambia, as does any government of a country with a slave currency, believes that it must and is indeed duly forced to invest in the export sector and diversify its economy for the sole purpose of having sufficient foreign exchange earnings to survive. This belief is inculcated in the minds of nations with slave currencies all the way up to tertiary levels of education. What this does is create a duped, willing modern day slave, whose subjugation has been deeply imbued in education and psychology to the extent that they work the fields for master currencies for free in the belief they are liberating themselves from economic poverty when in fact they are only tightening the iron collar of financial servitude around their necks. These iron collars are tied to a chain held by master currencies. These master currencies are owned by the governments and leaders of the G7 that today are beginning to represent everything that is wrong with the global financial system.

No person on earth has to prove they are worthy of being a human being. This worth is a right gained at birth. It is the role of nations and governments the world over to protect the sanctity of humanity through this belief. It is a fundamental purpose for which the United Nations exists. It has become the very bedrock of modern civilization. For anyone to say or believe that nations must prove themselves or earn the right to be reserve currencies and importantly to be able to demand goods and services directly from the international market without the requirement that they first be exchanged is no different from anyone stating that a child born today is not a human being, must first prove or "earn" the fact that they are a human being before they qualify for basic dignity and fundamental human rights. Recently at the High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System in Zurich, Federal Bank of New York President William Dudley in an article written by Katy Burne and published in the Wall Street Journal is said to have implied that the "stature of a reserve currency must be earned". In the article Mr. Dudley voices positive ideas about inclusiveness when it comes to which national currencies may become reserve currencies. However, this logic underlines the thinking in financial systems controlled by state agents of master currencies like the G7. This is an elitist view often held and used by those who enjoy freedoms that are exclusive to justify why those who deserve the same freedoms must continue to be enslaved should not receive them. No person “earns” the right to be a human being and treated as one. Similarly no nations currency “earns” the right to be internationally and directly tradable, it is a natural right, or in religious terms - a God given right. As long as the situation remains the same developed nations such as the Group of 7 will remain guilty of promoting a financial system where there will exist slave currencies and master currencies that are unlawful, criminal, immoral and directly abrogate the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.

It is a well-known fact that the end of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was not based on a simplistic moral decision, it was also fundamentally a business decision motivated by the fact that European powers scrambling for Africa realised that the man-power being exported to plantations in the Americas would be required to labour in newly acquired colonies. Ending the slave trade was a business decision which relied on moral views to reach a noble objective. Similarly developed countries forfeit billions of dollars each year to lost sales as a result of lower levels of demand created by the currency barrier. When a business or individual in Zambia or any country holds funds that are rightfully earned they have a right to demand goods and services directly without having to resort to looking for forex. If they wish to purchase US$5,000 worth of goods from a business in the United States it is the role of the Bank of Zambia to facilitate the purchase in Kwacha and for the United States Federal Reserve to facilitate the dollars with which the sale is executed. In the current corrupt financial system an agricultural company in Zambia that holds ZMK46,500 and desires to purchase US$5,000 worth of agricultural equipment from a business in the United States cannot do so because there is inadequate foreign exchange in the domestic economy or due to the fact that the value of the Kwacha it holds is eroded or erased for the same reason. This represents a loss of productivity for the business in Zambia and a loss in sales for the company in the United States. Consequently the United States Federal Reserve rather than a facilitator of trade, has become a stumbling block to increased economic growth in the United States. It uses a fictitious and contrived barrier, namely the currency barrier to prevent businesses in the United States from selling their products to buyers in other countries with currencies that are not directly tradable.  This fictitious barrier is fraudulent, used for extortion and represents a form of institutional racketeering applied by the US Federal Reserve at the expense of US businesses, the US economy and the American People. It can be described as a State sanctioned, prosecutable Federal criminal offense that costs the United States economy billions of dollars annually in lost revenues. Businesses in the United States made aware of this racket can sue the US Government and its Federal Reserve to recover the billion-dollar real cost in earnings this barrier or racket costs them. In fact the potential liabilities posed by seeking this kind of judicial redress, if taken seriously, makes it more sensible to end the currency barrier and make all currencies fundamentally tradable than to risk the liabilities of leaving the currency system as it is. The fact that G7 countries are engaged in this criminal racket that contravenes modern day moral views on human rights is indicative of the need to change the currency system. Many EU member states have very strong positions on human rights and yet have been co-opted into abrogating human rights by the EU's application of the Euro as a master currency that creates economic conditions that promote and perpetuate misery and poverty in poorer countries that are burdened with slave currencies that are not internationally communicable.  

Currency Barrier: The G7 violates human rights

Poor nations today face a crisis. A crisis of poverty amongst riches. When both a developed and a developing a nation's education system, its schools and universities inculcate a flawed understanding of the world, its economy and financial system the result is a doctrine implemented by the compromised who are unaware of their unnecessary and undeserved servitude or the fact that they have been made complicit in it. A university or lecturer that teaches the financial flaws inherent in the currency barrier to the malleable minds of students is no different from the slave masters hand or foreman who whips or cajoles slaves to labour in the fields on the belief it for their own benefit. For nations and their governments to believe their currencies are inadequate and they must export raw materials, goods and services primarily to earn reserve currencies to be deemed worthy of participating in international trade is no different from declaring publicly that their citizens, their entire national populations are inferior, less than human and deserving of being poorer members of the global community, an example of human trafficking on an unprecedented scale. If this is the case then what was the entire point of the political liberation struggle? What was gained from independence, especially if you are still morally and physically a financial slave? Why contribute and submit to a currency barrier that makes your people unwittingly have to work twice as hard yet earn twice less than the real value of their labour and productivity because, financially, reserve currencies see them as less than equal, less than human. Its important to know what to lobby for and where to stand your ground. The current inability of leaders in developing countries to see this link between poverty and an exploitative knowledge base, when it comes to the financial system, and campaign for a better way is unfortunate. Using this knowledge processes developing nations are unwittingly trafficked into financial servitude by hard currencies and the governments that wield them. 

The fact that diverse positive changes can be decided by a handful of remarkable leaders is an asset. However, it is also a stumbling block if leaders cannot make decisions that move the global economy to greater inclusion due to the belief that this will compromise their unique position as advanced economic powers and the gains this gives them. The benefits of having an exclusive reserve currency or master currency are no difference from the feeling of superiority or pride of being a slave owner and master of another human being. Being a form of self-immolation for developed nations, it is almost purely an unnecessary psychological need when compared to the financial losses businesses incur as a result of the currency barrier. The currency barrier that prevents developing countries like Zambia from using their domestic currencies to directly demand goods and services from the international market not only hurts economic growth in Zambia, Africa and the global economy, but also significantly curtails the potential growth in demand for goods and services available in G7 countries. 

In addition to this, as previously explained, in the earlier article,  the currency barrier creates a slave/master relationship in the modern day financial system that is a gross violation of human rights. The fact that a system that violates human rights can be coveted by a few industrialized countries that not only ultimately hurts growth in their economies but also creates untold poverty and suffering in countries outside this group stifles global trade, economic growth and international financial progress. It is myopic and does not make business or economic sense in the modern world. Leaders of the G7 need to revisit the currency system and make it unconditionally inclusive as this will not only dramatically increase growth in their economies but lead to a more just and vibrant global economy. Being considered leaders in the global economy entails that these countries set the conditions and terms by which the world trades. Institutions such as the IMF and even the United Nations cannot realistically be expected to make decisions concerning the currency barrier and its impact on economic growth and violation of relevant human rights without the nod from leaders of a body such as the G7 and any positive decisions cannot be made without access to the information that reveals the extent of the problem. For instance for the IMF to include the Yuan as a reserve currency may point to a move to a more inclusive financial system but it still does not help ease the suffering created by the currency barrier faced by many excluded countries. It consequently becomes like the admittance of China to an exclusive club of elites willing to maintain the status quo for themselves despite it being disadvantageous to their economies and countries outside the group. The world does not need more master slavers, what it needs is unconditional equality between master and slave currencies.

In Conclusion

Understandably G7 members and affiliate countries have made great contributions to the ongoing development and enhancement of human rights. The focus of this article on the currency barrier as a human rights violation is not intended to in any way to cause offense or demean what these nations have achieved and continue to contribute to human rights, but rather to bring greater awareness to the work that remains to be done by G7 members to improve the currency system and move it away from discrimination towards greater inclusiveness, equity and justice.

The United Nations Human Rights Council

It is incumbent on the United Nations and its Human Rights Council to uphold human rights as they pertain to the financial and currency system.

On October 24, 2015 (Zambia’s official Independence Day) I wrote to the Human Rights Council following their prescribed complaint procedure concerning this matter. This complaint (for which a response is yet to be received) is attached below [excluding personal details]:



Human Rights Council
Complaint Procedure Form

-          You are kindly requested to submit your complaint in writing in one of the six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) and to use these languages in any future correspondence;
-          Anonymous complaints/ are not admissible;                            
-          It is recommended that your complaint does not exceed eight pages, excluding enclosures.                     
-          You are kindly requested not to use abusive or insulting language.

I. Information concerning the author (s) of the communication or the alleged victim (s) if other than the author

Individual                   Group of individuals                 NGO                  Other
Last name:
First name(s):
Nationality:
Address for correspondence on this complaint:
Website:
Submitting the complaint: On the author’s own behalf:  
On behalf of other persons:  (The Zambian People and all Peoples of all nations disadvantaged by the currency system.

II. Information on the State concerned
Name of the State concerned and, as applicable, name of public authorities responsible for the alleged violation(s):
Name of the States concerned:
United States of America,
European Union

Name of public authorities responsible for the alleged violation(s):
Government of the United States of America and the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System),
 Member Governments of the European Union and the European Central Bank (ECB)

III. Facts of the complaint and nature of the alleged violation(s)

The complaint procedure addresses consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms occurring in any part of the world and under any circumstances.
[Please detail, in chronological order, the facts and circumstances of the alleged violations including dates, places and alleged perpetrators and how you consider that the facts and circumstances described violate your rights or that of the concerned person(s).]                    

The requirement the Zambian People, their Government and the governments of nations producing and holding domestic currencies including the Zambian Kwacha that before they may import goods and services and/or  access goods and services on the international market the domestic currency must first be exchanged for a hard currency being the United States Dollar and/or the European Union’s Euro. This requirement is a barrier that violates several statutes of the Declaration of Human Rights.  These violations are as follows

A violation of Article 1:

(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.)

The fact that domestic currencies cannot directly demand goods and services on the international market without first having to be converted into a hard currency sic the United States Dollar and/or the European Union’s Euro gives an unfair advantage to those able to print this currency such as the US Federal Reserve Bank and ECB or those who hold their currencies in a reserve such as a private or state bank who are able to purchase goods and services from the international market directly without hindrance, barrier or obstacle. This barrier that is placed on domestic currencies is an organised system of exclusion that creates inequality in the ability of Zambians and all other peoples and countries that are unable to print hard currency, acquire or hold sufficient amounts of it to satisfy the demand for imports by which domestic consumer populations may make purchases from the international market. This creates inequality between those human beings, governments and institutions, that are able to print, acquire or hold a hard currency, sic the United States Dollar/ ECB’s Euro and those human beings, governments and institutions that are unable to do so; who must first convert their domestic currency into the hard currency before they can make purchases on the international market. This unequal access is a violation of Article 1 which states all human beings are born free and equal. Access to and the use of goods and services affects the physical, psychological; social and psychosomatic wellbeing of human beings. These goods and services include medicines, education, clothing, food, vehicles, communications and industrial equipment etc that may determine economic well-being, individual life or death, and suffering or joy. A barrier to human beings, governments and institutions accessing this well-being is a denial of their dignity. The currency barrier is a human creation created by governments and central banks. It can therefore be revoked and replaced with a rule, system and corresponding ideology that allows all domestic currencies in the world to be unconditionally exchangeable. The choice to maintain this system with a currency barrier goes against reason and conscience and is an example of human beings not acting toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood, even though they claim they have agreed to do so by being signatories to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Violation of Article 4

(No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms)

A country, institution or person that has access to hard currency be it by the ability to print it, loans, and other methods is able to demand goods directly from the international market without having to perform any further work. Countries, institutions and persons with domestic currencies that work to earn this currency are required to first identify, produce and sell products on the international market in order to earn foreign exchange through exports. This additional labour represents a form of servitude. The need for the Zambian Kwacha and all domestic currencies to first be converted into hard currency, the US Dollar and/or the European Union’s Euro creates a financial system and condition in which countries, their peoples and institutions that cannot access foreign exchange are forced to work to produce exportable goods and services in order to gain the hard currency with which to become eligible to purchase goods and services on the international market. This barrier to accessing hard currency creates forced labour, necessitated by the need to earn foreign exchange:  For a Zambian to live he or she must first work and earn an income which is paid in the domestic currency (Zambian Kwacha). However, since the currency barrier does not allow this currency to directly demand goods and services from the international market, Zambians are forced to work once again to produce exportable goods and services that will be sold for foreign exchange. The initial labour the human being applied to earn Zambian Kwacha or any similar domestic currency around the world is thus negated by the system’s refusal to allow the domestic currency earned to directly purchase goods and services on the international market. This dismissal of the value of labour represents a form of discrimination.  Only a slave or human being in a state of servitude can work and have the work done determined as valueless or free. The financial system consequently uses a barrier that prevents domestic currencies from accessing goods and services directly on the international market, which in turn induces forced labour to access foreign exchange through exports in the nations, countries, and institutions faced with the problem of acquiring goods and services on the international market. This slavery and servitude is maintained by countries able to print hard currencies and their central banks including the Government of the United States of America and its Federal Reserve Bank through application of the US dollar, the European Union and the European Central Bank  through application of the Euro. These currencies and the systems by which they are administered represent a gross violation of human rights. They encumber the ability of labour to sustain its value anywhere in the world and introduce a preference system that discriminates against those working and earning domestic currencies. It represents an immoral use use of the financial system to gain unfair advantage over other human beings by engaging them in systemic servitude and slavery for economic gain.

In order for the domestic and international financial system to conform to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights it is mandatory that there be no discrimination between currencies. This may only be achieved by a mechanism whereby governments and their central banks are in agreement that their currencies are unconditionally interchangeable and that no domestic currency anywhere in the world shall be barred from being exchanged for another; neither shall it be barred from directly accessing goods and services on the international market with the guarantor of this being central banks and the governments they represent. Without this principle there arises inequality, forced labour, servitude and slavery that are a very serious violation of human rights across the world outlined in this complaint that must forthwith be addressed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Nations forced [to] work to export goods and services in order to earn foreign exchange become slave nations and the domestic currencies they hold  such as Zambian Kwacha  can be designated slave currencies.  Those governments and nations such as the United States and the European Union and their central banks exempt from this servitude, able to print hard currencies can be considered master countries and hard currencies they use place nations unable to do so in servitude. This represents a gross violation of human rights that affects the ability of governments with slave currencies to manage their economies in a fair financial environment.

Violation of Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Since the 1st of January 2015 the value of the Zambian Kwacha has been in a state of decline as a result of depreciation that is a direct result of the currency barrier that prevents the Zambian Kwacha from directly purchasing goods and services from the international market. In order to restore the value of its currency the Zambian government and people are forced to labour in areas of productivity that will yield exported goods and services. However, in order to do so they need to be able to purchase equipment, assets, machinery, raw materials from the international market. This creates a vicious cycle of servitude where lack of the ability to access hard currencies makes it difficult to gain the material resources with which to produce exportable products. This consequently creates a form of slavery that is inescapable except through a rigorous disassembly of the system itself. It is a system that inequality, economic bondage, violation of fundamental human rights of the Zambian people and all people caught up in this systemic servitude demands be addressed by the United Nations through its Human Rights agencies.

Zambia may have gained political independence on 24th October 1964, however, until the inequality, servitude and injustice created by the currency barrier and its implementers is removed Zambia and its people will never know economic independence. The consequences of these gross violations of human rights applied through the financial system by way of hard currencies and barriers to access are a consummate erosion of the value of the labour of Zambian people through depreciation in the past to date and specifically in the year 2015 where the Zambian Kwacha has lost more than half its real value. This is the case simply by a desire for the Zambian people to access goods and services on the international market which is prevented by a “man made”  barrier that prevents domestic currencies and hard currencies from being unconditionally exchangeable. This pointless and discriminatory erosion of the value of labour is a serious violation of human rights as it puts into official space a financial and currency system where one government and its central bank by means of the method of application of its hard currency may wipe out the real work done by the masses of the Zambian people and any given national population around the world in a similar position. This can be considered nothing less than a grievous violation of human rights as by way of negation only in a slave/master system can one human being reduce or render valueless the real labour and productivity of another human being through the enforcement of a dubious idea imposed on those unable to determine outcomes in what is an immoral and dehumanising currency system.

Zambians work, invest and produce yet find that what they earn is reduced in value by the manner in which the system governing domestic and hard currencies is applied by governments and administered through the banking and financial system; this is both degrading and dehumanising. Loans taken in hard currency to purchase assets and property can cause people earning in domestic currencies to suddenly and without warning find themselves unable to afford to repay these loans as a result of the loss of value of domestic currency they earn leading to banks repossessing the said assets and property. This is a direct violation of Article 17 Part 2 which states that No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. The inequality between hard currency and domestic currencies is causing depreciation in Zambia which reduces affordability. Zambian workers have found they can no longer purchase the same basket of goods and services, this includes shelter, school fees, food, medicines and other basic and luxury goods and services human beings require to sustain their very lives and feel dignified about their existence. The effects of this barrier that creates slave currencies are no different from indecent treatment, torture, cruel and inhuman punishment meted out by captors of those who have been placed in bondage or servitude. The punishment and torture is both psychological and physical. The lack of the ability to import medicines for hospitals, expertise, food stuffs that leads to disease, hunger and poverty is no different from torture at the hands of a captor.

The United States and the European Union are both highly respected. This complaint is not intended to tarnish the great strides and contributions these governments have made in human rights in many areas of human endeavour. It may be the case that they themselves are unaware of the negative externalities of the present currency system and the barriers it has in place and how these are hurting the people and economies of less developed nations like Zambia. It is hoped that this complaint, if handled prudently by the relevant UN authorities can usher in a new more enlightened debate, approach and system by which these currencies are governed and applied that is more in line with modern views on equity, equality and justice.  

IV. Exhaustion of domestic remedies

In order to protect the Zambian people from the consequences of depreciation the Zambian government through the central bank (Bank of Zambia) and Ministry of Finance engaged open market operations involving the release of United States Dollars into the Zambian economy through the banking and financial system. This has resulted in the Zambian Kwacha making small gains against the US Dollar. The government has over the years encouraged diversification of exports away from the dependence on copper exports as a means of  gaining hard currencies. The Zambian government has also attempted to raise hard currency through the successful issuance of bonds. These approaches though valiant in their attempt to protect the Zambian people have proven futile in halting the tide of depreciation that has affect the domestic currency. The underlying fact is that there is little any government can do to protect its economy and people from the currency barrier. If governments through their Treasuries, Ministries of Finance and Central Banks agreed to make domestic and hard currencies unconditionally exchangeable the slavery, servitude and economic problems the Zambian people and people across the world in a similar situation are affected by would simply not exist. This slavery and servitude is created through the mis-application of hard currencies and the governments that issue them, barriers to exchange and access are a gross violation of fundamental human rights outlined in this complaint and application that it is incumbent upon the United Nations to put an end to this servitude. It is hereby called upon to investigate this complaint and broker an equal, fair and just relationship between the Zambian Kwacha, all domestic currencies in existence around the world and hard currencies in order to bring this slavery, servitude, degrading and inhumane treatment of the Zambian people and all populations existing in countries with slave currencies to an end.   Governments and the currencies they issue must act responsibly, within human rights and live up to the need for all people to have an equal access to human decency through the appropriate use of currencies through financial systems. Article 8 of the Declaration of Human Rights makes it mandatory that the United Nations perform its function and defend the Zambian people, and all people similarly affected by currency barriers, across the world. The UN should not allow currencies and the financial system should not be allowed to spread prejudice of this kind, neither should it allow ignorance of this reality to remain a key method by which it is allowed to remain unchallenged.

Granted, it is understood that this complaint is an unusual one. However, its underlying truths carry merit and it is hoped that the authorities into whom this complaint is entrusted will take it seriously and thereby shed light on the suffering of the millions of people around the world who are affected by how domestic and hard currencies are applied in today’s global financial system such that governments the world over may be encouraged to introduce a fair, more just and more equitable system to replace the substandard one currently in place.


V. Submission of communication to other human rights bodies

This matter is a first submission, this first submission being to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
…………………………

VI. Request for confidentiality

[In case the communication complies with the admissibility criteria set forth in Council resolution 5/1, kindly note that it will be transmitted to the State concerned so as to obtain the views of the latter on the allegations of violations.]
[Please state whether you would
like your identity or any specific information contained in the complaint to be kept confidential.]
Request for confidentiality (Please tick as appropriate):     Yes                         No
Please indicate which information you would like to be kept confidential

Date: 24th October 2015                                             Signature: …………………….
N.B. The blanks under the various sections of this form indicate where your responses are required. You should take as much space as you need to set out your responses. Your complaint should not exceed eights pages.

VII. Checklist of supporting documents

Economic data that backs this complaint is available abundantly online and in relevant media on Zambia’s economic performance.

[Please provide copies (not original) of supporting documents (kindly note that these documents will not be returned) in one of the six UN official languages.
- Decisions of domestic courts and authorities on the claim made (a copy of the relevant national legislation is also helpful):
- Complaints sent to any other procedure mentioned in section V (and any decisions taken under that procedure):
- Any other evidence or supporting documents deemed necessary: ]

VIII. Where to send your communications?
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights Council Branch-Complaint Procedure Unit
OHCHR- Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: (+41 22) 917 90 11
E-mail:
CP@ohchr.org



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Are flying drones the next big leap in civilian transportation?

With increasing populations around the world roads are becoming ever more congested as the number of vehicles steadily rises. Many a motorist stuck in traffic have looked up into the empty blue sky and wished there was a way they could escape the congestion. It used to be the case that the only vehicle that could safely provide the vertical lift required was a helicopter. However a helicopter, with its primitive wide swinging blades has never been a viable option to consider as an option.  A flying car would need certain minimum requirements the first being vertical lift off and landing,  second great stability to operate in confined spaces in and around buildings, thirdly a propulsion system that will allow ascent and descent in close proximity to people without posing any injury, fourth maneuverability and ease of piloting or operation.

Many false starts and ongoing attempts at building a flying passenger car have been going on for many years such that the fact that what the Ehang-184 has achieved may be underestimated and underplayed. Below are a few of the very serious attempts to build a flying car that the Ehang-184 seems to have suddenly overtaken or overshadowed.    

Moller Skycar

Aeromobile 3.0


Terrafugia


Terrafugia Concept


Germany's Multicopter VC-200

The PAL V ONE Flying Car
 

Hover Bike 2014: Lets not leave out the 
flying motorbike.

Airmule

Many attempts at flying cars or flying urban vehicles for use by passengers have been made. There have always been stability problems that the Chinese Company Ehang seems to have cracked by applying quadcopter technology as the means of propulsion with stability. 

The Ehang-184 places China firmly ahead in this auspicious
race, an amazing achievement. 

Many attempts have been made at creating a flying car. The first serious attempt that satisfies the VTOL requirement that I came across many years ago was the Moller Skycar. After watching videos of the Moller Skycar being tested even back then it became obvious that this vehicle had a huge hurdle to overcome in terms of stability. Most likely the engines were not appropriate for vertical take-offs and landings. Other attempts at flying cars either incorporated helicopter blades that may not work well in close spaces or that included foldable wings. Wings however, entail that the VTOL ability is absent. These vehicles certainly may have other uses, but may not be appropriate as urban or civilian flying cars. The best and most recent attempt came in the form of the Air-mule  being developed by UrbanAreo. Watching videos of the air-mule showed that this was one of the most promising attempts at creating a flying car thus far. However, observing videos of the test flights of the air-mule there seem to be tell-tale instability issues that still need to be dealt with. This may stem from the fact that the Air-mule uses only two instead of four fans. The Hover Bike concept began with a similar two propeller concept but only became more stable when when the propeller system was changed from two to a quadcopter configuration . The fact that Ehang has proven quadcopter technology can be up-scaled from a small prototype to a large passenger vehicle whilst maintaining stability shows hat that projects like the Hover Bike are practical business prospects with a good potential for high returns and worth being supported by investors.

Anyone in the automobile industry not investing in these flying urban vehicle innovations in order to stay ahead of such disruptive-technologies is not doing their due diligence and will lose out in a big way as they simply do not understand the future or revolutionary potential here. You don't want to be the only automobile manufacturer stuck on the ground when all your competitors are rising up, up and away from you.

An air car operated by civilians in an urban setting needs to be deadly still and stable in mid air. It seemed the hope of a flying car was as yet far off; that is, until the recent unveiling of the Ehang 184 at CES 2016. Stop the press.

History in the Making: EHANG184 The People's  Republic of China
builds the world's first flying car.
 The People's Republic of China may lose credit for this first if its importance is not recognized. It’s being played down right now, but with the invention of the Ehang-184 credit for creating the first quad prop based flying car goes to China. China, hands down, has beaten everyone else in this endeavour even technologically advanced countries such as the United States. This is a historic event that no-one seems to understand the huge implications of. The test video showing the 184 take-off and land is the very first time a compact vehicle the size of a small car has been shown to take off and land with the stability that makes it immediately applicable to operating in urban environments. The technology itself is not new, this kind of drone technology has been around for quite a while now, however, it has been restricted to miniaturized drones mostly used for recreation, some have cameras mounted on them and companies like Amazon are even considering using them to deliver packages to clients. The Multicopter developed in Germany is impressive but it maintains the shape of a helicopter that is not as yet suitable for urban environments. 

The Ehang 184 is therefore the first serious attempt to take drone technology and evolve it into something that can be used as a personal urban flying car or vehicle. The stability of miniature drones currently used is very impressive. For instance operators, drivers or pilots in drone racing show just how remarkably stable and incredibly maneuverable drones are. Flying cars may be made so stable by quad copter technologies that they can float temporarily alongside conventional automobiles, moving along until there is sufficient overhead clearance for vertical take off. What has been unknown thus far is whether when upscaled to a life-size passenger vehicle this impressive stability will be maintained. The Ehang 184 proves that it is maintained and that drone technology can be used to build easy to operate flying cars.  The creation of the Ehang 184 can be considered to have the potential to be on par with Henry Ford’s historic design and development of the model T. Its designers already appear to have production line assembly in mind. The 184 has an independent chassis. The cabin or cockpit can be separated from the chassis allowing diverse types of cabins to be built around the chassis something useful when it comes to mass production.

Flying vehicles based on drone technology can have innumerable uses other than personal transportation. They can be built to carry heavier payloads and used by emergency services to put out forest fires with on board water canons and rescue people in high rise buildings. They can be turned into observation platforms and used by game parks where tours can consist of flying quietly and safely over wildlife. Perches placed high up on towers can be built where these vehicles land and recharge several meters in the air, whilst tourists observe a wild life sanctuary from a birds eye view. They can be used as ambulances and so on. They can even be used to more efficiently hoist building materials in place of cranes in the construction of high rise buildings. In these conditions the drone could even remain tethered to a power supply line since it operates  in a closed area.

Its very easy to designate a specific altitude for police and emergency vehicles only dramatically cutting down response times. Flying cars offer improved transportation, shorter travel times and lower congestion.

Safety Concerns: Flying cars will be much safer to drive than conventional automobiles

Automobiles are dangerous because they drive at ground or street level, the same level people conventionally walk on. In addition to this a narrow road has many obstacles such as vehicles traveling head on in the next lane and obstacles such as buildings, pavements, drainage ditches and pedestrians. Its no wonder that developing the technology for driverless cars has proven a challenge. There are so many variables a ground based car has to account for and maneuver around. Flying cars are likely to prove a form of transportation much safer than automobiles. This is due to the fact that a flying car will tend to operate at higher speeds only when it is in the sky way above any contact with pedestrians or buildings on the same vertical plane. Even when it is about to park, a flying car can maintain an altitude above pedestrians and other cars thereby minimizing the possibility of collusion, while it descends vertically to ground level into an appropriate parking space from which it will similarly rise. Redundancies can be in place when engines fail to ensure safe landing for those on board and safety for those below. If the aerial lanes created for flying cars are carefully designed its easy to avoid head on collisions caused by oncoming traffic. Since there are no buildings, ditches, street lights,  pedestrians and other obstacles in a vertical plane a flying car that veers off the aerial lane to avoid collision or due to fatigue, poor driver concentration is unlikely to encounter any obstacles to collide with or that will force it to overturn. On board systems will simply take control and return the flying car back to the aerial line. Automated flying cars will be much easier to build software and hardware for due to the fact that there are much fewer obstacles above ground than there are at ground level.

What makes flying cars safe is the very high degree of stability the quad propeller system can generate. There is a high level of redundancy so even if one electric motor fails the others can compensate and bring it safely to the ground. Even in tight ground level situations as long as the flying car remains stable in its flight the fact that it is moving at low speeds and has hover capabilities should make it much safer for urban populations to interact with than a normal automobile. Flying cars also offer the added advantage of being either manually driven or placed on autopilot. Law enforcement can insist it has the ability to communicate with a control tower to remotely place a flying car that has been identified as a potential threat on autopilot and bring it to the ground. In fact, the introduction of flying cars is likely to dramatically improve the technology around sensitive sites and buildings that monitors and engages air traffic making these kinds of threats less dangerous than they would be without flying cars.

For urban use the challenge is to make flying cars stable and safe enough that the public is comfortable to have them fly above, move beside, take off and land alongside conventional cars. For instance a drone flying car moving beside conventional cars in slow areas such as a busy street or parking lot may in fact be many times safer than a conventional car when it comes to collisions. Since it is riding on a cushion of air the resistance to impacts is lower than a vehicle with wheels fixed on the ground, therefore even if it did make low level contact with another vehicle in these conditions there may be little damage. The same applies to it drifting and making contact with a person, when such contact occurs at very low speeds it is less likely to be as dangerous as making the same contact with a conventional vehicle on the ground which will have much greater resistance to anything it impacts. This being the case could make the integration of flying cars into the same space as conventional cars at very low speeds quite feasible. What is important is that when a flying  car loses contact with the ground on lift off it do so in a very stable fashion without any unnecessary lateral drift whatsoever.  Moving personal transportation into the skies above has the potential to free up space on busy streets making them much friendlier for cyclists, conventional cars and growing numbers of pedestrians. If high rise parking becomes commonplace these vehicles would not even need to park on the street, they would instead move from the air straight into a high rise building leaving the streets below less congested. .

The truth is that flying cars may dramatically reduce deaths caused by conventional automobiles. The fear that they pose a threat in that they can be commandeered by people with evil intent can be countered by governments simply creating aerial or sky lanes to which flying vehicles must adhere. Unlike conventional cars that move incognito the movement of every flying car would be monitored in real time using a kind of flying urban vehicle air traffic control system where any strange flight movement would be picked up by computers and alert relevant authorities. In any case there would be a dramatic increase in police force response times and the monitoring of urban airspace that would make it safer than it is today. Instead of taking hours or even minutes police officers in a flying car or on Hover Bikes flying at the designated emergency urban altitude could be at the scene of a crime in seconds. Obviously the police force will have access to the same vehicles and any flying car that veers from a sky lane can immediately be identified by law enforcement and intercepted or pushed into autopilot by traffic control and made to safely descend to the ground.

Competition

Now that the cat is out of the bag and the flying car has literally been built the question remains how long can China stay ahead of the curve in terms of rolling the commercialization of this technology. Ehang, as a company, is unlikely to stay ahead of the competition without investment and support from the government of China as a means of facilitating improvements in this technology, mass production that leads to lower costs and a lower retail price. If the Ehang 184 were targeted at the automobile market then at a cost of US$200,000 to US$300,000 it is still way too expensive for the general car buying public to consider having a flying car parked next to the family 4x4 Suv. At present it can only carry one passenger which limits its uses as a practical family flying vehicle of the future available today. The other limitation is the 25 minute flying time. The reality of this is that a VTOL flying car does not get stuck in traffic and it travels to its destination using straight line distances, therefore, even this current low flying time would still make it viable.  

The fact remains that we now know flying drones can be scaled up to create highly stable flying personal cars. The real test is to see who can find a way of mass producing these vehicles in a manner that makes them affordable to the general public. Ehang faces serious potential competition from companies like Tesla in the United States that have invested heavily in battery technology and mass production  techniques. These can be adapted to building passenger based VTOL flying cars like the Ehang 184 that, with improved batteries and super fast recharging times, can travel faster for much longer distances yet be available at the same price as an automobile. The battery powered Tesla Model S for instance is roughly five times more powerful than the Ehang being said to be able to belt out 700 horse power (hp) compared to the Ehang's 142hp. To give some perspective as to why electric car technology is more suited for flying vehicles, the Tesla Model S may have a range of 482 Km (300 miles) on a single charge, but to cover that mileage on normal roads averaging 95 Km/h could take close to five hours. If electric cars discharge or use up batteries on the basis of time used rather than just work done, e.g. 5 hrs of continuous work rather than distance per say, then a flying car designed to use battery power would harness the battery for just 25 minutes and straight distance to get to the 482Km roadway destination rather than 5 hours allowing innovation in battery technology tied to flying urban vehicles to push the distances people can travel on a single charge. Shorter flying times or "kangaroo hops" that cover much longer distances in a much shorter time to and from or over multiple destinations may entail that battery power such as that designed by companies like Tesla is useful for conventional automobiles but is the perfect power source for flying cars, especially with the option of flying car owners to charge their cars at home.

There are leading car manufacturers around the world with deep pockets that can easily jump on the flying car band wagon due to the fact the basic technology used to make drones fly is available off the shelf. Its really a just a question of which individual or company sees the potential market and which businesses will have the insight to see this as the next big thing in transportation and be aggressive enough to try and gain a piece of the market. Automobile manufacturers for instance would want to stay ahead of the competition in this regard.

Automobiles Vs Flying Cars 

Today's impressive modern interchanges and superhighways may become
eerily empty tourist attractions from a bygone era
 with future generations wondering why their ancestors built them.
 It is unlikely that flying cars or passenger drones will pose serious competition or a threat to conventional ground based automobiles. However, it is certain that every family or company will want the VTOL option as surely as people buy vehicles for different reasons. Its common for people to have an SUV as well as a sedan vehicle, quad bikes, boats and so on depending on what the use is and affordability. People and industry may want cars for shorter distances and VTOL cars for long distances. A flying car like the Ehang 184 when expanded to carry more passengers is likely to be just another important vehicle to have for specific uses and will not have a major impact on automobile sales in the beginning, but even if demand for flying cars outstrips demand for automobiles it is more likely than not automobile manufacturers to day will be the flying car manufacturers of tomorrow. They are likely to simply expand the scope of their production to include passenger drones or flying cars. The technology required for a flying drone is not that much more complex than that already being applied by car manufacturers in the vehicles they are building today.

However, if flying cars become so much more efficient and so much more applicable to transportation than cars it could become a transformative event. Most of the world's automobile manufacturers would then very well have to consider retrofitting their manufacturing plants to mass produce flying cars instead of automobiles to remain competitive. This scenario cannot be ruled out altogether. If this were to happen then amazing highways and complex interchanges found in wealthy countries that people living in poorer developing countries so admire would inevitably become obsolete. Like the Great Wall of China they will have once served a grand purpose for transporting the populace around but must naturally wind up as tourist attractions. In the same way that we see tourists strolling down the iconic Great Wall of China crowds of tourists arriving on flying cars might possibly be found strolling along today's complex road interchanges that have become eerily empty, while a tour guide explains what they were used for as they stand like a monolith to a by gone age.

Commercial Transport and Freight

A significant impact of drone technology may have is on heavy duty freight in the transport industry. Firstly drones may be designed to reach average cruising speeds of 600 Km/h. Goods transported by truck must follow roads and cannot make use of straight line distances between destinations. Quad propeller systems are possibly the only modern day technology that can lift freight consisting of very large tonnages. This is due to the fact that the number of quad propellers attached to freight can be increased comparative to the load to be lifted and as the Ehang 184 shows propellers can be stacked using double co-axial double rotor technology. The Ehang 184 stacks 2 co-axial double rotor propellers, but whose to say the technology to stack 10 or 15 independently driven propellers cannot be developed? This vented "tube" of stacked propellers would enhance thrust capability significantly increasing the loads that can be lifted especially where heavy duty lifting is required.

 A truck hauling 50 tonnes of product from Lusaka to Kitwe, a distance of close to 500 Km can take as long as 10 hours of driving for a freight company to deliver due to low speed and frequent stops. A company hauling the same large freight using a heavy duty quad propeller system and straight-line distance could move the same heavy load to Kitwe in 30 minutes. If it uses a rechargeable battery system for the delivery its diesel costs could also fall. The risk of transporting the freight would also fall significantly due to there being fewer obstacles for a flying truck to avoid in the sky than on the ground. Deliveries would be quicker, maintenance costs would be lower and the risk of moving freight would decline dramatically. Flying trucks would be able to deliver freight to previously inaccessible areas where roads are in poor shape or simply don't exist at all. This would allow development in rural, remote and previously inaccessible regions of a country to take place more rapidly transforming lives. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast mineral rich country that faces inadequate road infrastructure. Roads are normally a pre-requisite for countries like the DRC to be able to adequately exploit abundant natural resource wealth. However, flying cars, buses and trucks would remove roads as a stumbling block to rapid economic growth for a nation like the DRC. Development could take place and the road infra-structure follow later.

Being able to move a large percentage of heavy freight and abnormal loads from roads into the air using flying trucks would help sustain and extend the life of the national tarred road network helping governments save considerable income. Governments that make the deliberate decision to shift the total bulk of national transportation from road bound  automobiles to flying cars, trucks and buses are likely to save costs by reducing dependency on asphalt roads. It would revolutionize not only the transport system but dramatically increase productivity as well as distribute national development more widely and more equitably. These countries would have significant advantages over countries that do not strongly pursue this technology that would suddenly find themselves moving too slowly to remain technologically competitive. For instance if the government of China supported the Ehang 184 flying car project with the objective of this becoming the new future template for transportation in China any other country that did not do the same or that remained with transportation system based on grounded transport would be considered too slow, burdened by a slow transport network, backward and fall significantly behind.

If the concept of a flying freight truck delivering heavy duty goods in minutes rather than days between cities like Lusaka and Kitwe, Ndola or Livingstone through the air rather than by road sounds far fetched, the bottom line is that a flying truck is already said to be in the process of being built and tested. Its referred to as "the Black Knight". Its being built by Advanced Tactics and is said to already be in advanced stages of development  for the United States Military. See the video below.


Flying Truck for moving freight and troops

A Transformation of Urban Living

The other dramatic change flying cars could bring is demographic. The average driving time for a car from Lusaka to Kitwe via Ndola for instance is roughly five hours. Flying cars or buses could cut this time down from 5 hours to 30 minutes or less allowing people to opt to live in one city, state or province but work in another. People living in Kitwe, Livingstone or Ndola could work in Lusaka and vice versa, commuting easily from their homes to work and back each day. Construction work and other commercial activity between different cities that involves the movement of materials and personnel would be reduced facilitating faster construction times.

At present despite countries having vast arrays of empty land cities are becoming ever more congested due to the fact that people desire to live in close proximity with the central business district for employment, shopping, access to services, road networks and so on. At present roads must create accessibility before constructing homes and other buildings. Generally people will build their homes beside or near an accessible road. Since flying urban vehicles can clear  tree-tops, do not immediately need roads and are faster methods of travel urban dwelling places can be moved to any area where land is freely available. People can build homes in places they would not have considered before, further away from the CBD without having to first wait for roads to be introduced, the tarred roads can follow later. Suburbs and other accommodation could be moved as far off as 500Km from a CBD in areas people would not previously chose to live without affecting movement to and from places of employment. This may help decongest cities and even rapidly move development to rural areas.

The fact that a flying car or truck can cut travel times from 5 hours to 30 minutes or less makes air born urban vehicles 10 times more efficient at moving goods and people than land bound automobiles. Airlines would be able to increase the scope of their services and reach a much wider demographic since at present air travel is too expensive for the majority. Bus companies purchasing flying buses would also participate by being able to expand from ground travel to air quadcopter-bus based air travel.

Flying cars will also have a significant impact on poverty in developing countries. Developing countries face many challenges when it comes to developing road infra-restructure. At present a good road network is mandatory for any country to develop, however, asphalt roads can be very expensive to build and maintain. Even when they are built often these roads can only reach main cities and important locations leaving out remote villages and towns which will still have to wait for a very long time before they receive tarred roads. Flying cars allow rapid development and the connection of remote areas even before tarred roads are built. Consequently economic activity and communication with these areas can be more immediate thereby significantly raising living standards.

Governments and businesses operating in competitive global environments cannot ignore such a huge jump in efficiency that has the potential to dramatically improve living standards,  raise GDP, increase productivity, lower cost and increase profitability.

Improved living standards

As people resort to flying cars there are likely to be fewer and fewer conventional cars moving on the ground. Flying cars create their own highways or skyways. Governments could for instance designate a highway altitude every ten meters where millions of flying cars travel at different altitudes to different destinations. Higher altitudes can be allocated to higher speeds the same way there is a dedicated fast lane for cars. As flying cars become more popular architecture will change allowing people to park the flying cars from the sky directly onto buildings with the majority never having to touch ground. Fewer cars on the ground means that ground level can be enjoyed more by cyclists and pedestrians. More ground can be dedicated for recreational use. More green spaces can be created.

As might be expected human beings have already began to imagine what skyways with many cars might look like. Here is that sensational Coruscant clip from Star Wars, interestingly, notice how the artist conceptualisation of this clip includes no vehicles on the ground in the city, only pedestrians:



Remarkable Stability of Quadcopter Technology

Looking at the video the Ehang 184's single greatest achievement is remarkable stability. Everything else is not as crucial as this. The short 25 minute flying time and low pay load for example are not a problem as these can be dramatically extended through further scaling up and readily available technology. Improved speeds and VTOL capabilities entail that a 25 minute flight could cover the distance that would take a car 5 or more hours. Therefore, even short flying times will not prevent this technology from eventually becoming viable.

Flying drones are remarkable in that they are able to withstand being buffeted by cross winds. The ultimate challenge would be for a flying car to easily and safely vertically land and take off from a conventional parking space found in a any open or closed parking lot. As long as a drone or quad copter flying car can be stable enough to move temporarily alongside cars, for instance for indoor or covered parking lots and from this space can mount to heights that easily and safely clears conventional cars it may be possible to integrate them into conventional spaces used by vehicles if authorities are forward thinking.  This is why mid air stability at very low altitudes is the single most important factor in this type of vehicle.  

For the Ehang 184 it may be necessary to consider building a chassis that encompasses the blades of the propellers  to allow the vehicle to operate in close spaces expected of urban environments as has been done with the Air-Mule and Hover Bike. In addition to this a stiff mesh topside and bottom-side of  the rotor that allows air through without affecting aerodynamics would also improve safety for civilians near the rotors.

Government and planning

Forward thinking governments will need to be more supportive and more open to the concept of previously empty skies filled with urban flying cars and other vehicles as governments that resist this transformation are likely to be left behind by more adaptive countries. The advantages provided by flying cars, trucks and buses and the other uses of this technology applied to modern urban environments is too significant for any modern government to ignore or delay the advancement of. The impact this technology can have on poverty, living standards, productivity, demography, GDP and socio-economic advancement in both developing and developed countries is tremendous such that any government planning for how its economy can get ahead in the future would have to seriously plan to bring this technology into the mainstream.


Official Ehang 184 video launch CES 2016

Gyroscopic Force Levitation

Why haven't I included my own flying car concept? Well, because the propulsion system I designed is not based on quadcopter technology instead my design concept harnesses centriptal forces and does not use aerodynamics or air to generate lift. The concept is in this sense more advanced than a quadcopter. Imagine a tin can large enough to put someone inside with the top and the bottom removed. The tin can rests on a flat smooth surface. If the person inside the can pushed against the walls the can would move in any direction it was being pushed (see the simple diagram below). The person's feet touching the ground provide the resistance with which to move the can, hover, in the gyrscopic device the same force is simply generated by momentum. This is the basic concept of the propulsion system for this kind of VTOL concept that would be able to operate in any environment, that is, above ground, under water and even in space. More about this here.


Gyroscopic Levitation explained