It’s 2015: Where Are the Flying Cars? The Predictions Back to the Future II Got Right (and Wrong)

The future is here, and it has flying cars.

At least, it should have flying cars, according to the vision of 2015 as per the popular 80s flick Back to the Future II.

And now that 2015 is finally here, the Internet’s abuzz with one question: how much of the “future,” as witnessed by Marty McFly, is actually a reality?

While Back to the Future II missed the mark on some technological advancements – sorry, fax machines and payphones – a few of its futuristic predictions did come to fruition by the real 2015.

So how much of the film’s forecast is fact, and how much is still fiction? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Flying cars

Ever since the first automobiles, futurists have been predicting that one day, cars would take to the skies. Well, it’s 2015 and our vehicles are still firmly planted on the ground – and for good reason. As modern-day futurist Michael Rogers points out to Newsweek, there are huge hurdles to overcome if we ever want our rides to fly:

“In terms of basic design, flying vehicles need lift; cars shouldn’t have lift. In terms of driver skills, a car is basically two-dimensional navigation; an airplane is three dimensional. Big difference in the driving skill required.”

But wait, the film’s aerial automobiles haven’t entirely missed the mark – ever heard of the AeroMobil? That’s right, we technically do have a flying car prototype, but it’s more of a plane-you-can-drive-on-the-street than a flying car. We won’t be seeing these in suburban driveways anytime soon, but we can be sure of one thing – when they do make their big debut, even flying cars will need to be insured.

The Verdict: (Mostly) Fiction

Wearable Tech

Now here’s a prediction that's actually made it to the real 2015.

The past year has seen the emergence of “wearable technology,” including the Apple Watch and Google Glass. Now take a look at the glasses Marty’s wearing at the dinner table. Looks a lot like Google Glass, doesn’t it?

We’d say that computerized glasses have definitely made the cut.

The Verdict: Fact

Hoverboards

By far the coolest bit of future technology from the entire film, the hoverboard is sadly not a reality in the real 2015. Hoverboards would require anti-gravity technology, explains Michael Rogers, and “in 2015 we won’t even have a complete theory of gravity.”

But once again, don’t count this fantastical tech out just yet : the future of hoverboards has been changed within the past six months. Hendo Hoverboards has recently come out with an actual, real-life hoverboard. It uses magnetic repulsion, and has to be used on a special metal surface, but hey – you have to start somewhere.

The Verdict: (Mostly) Fiction

Video calling

Another prediction that’s surprisingly on target. When Marty’s dad George answers a video call from his boss, it sure looks a lot like Skype or Facetime.

Now, this 2015 prediction is a widespread reality.

The Verdict: Fact

Phone booths and fax machines

Fax machines? Phone booths? What is this, the 1980’s?

Well, the film was released in 1989, when fax machines were still pretty new. And if fax machines were all the rage back then, it’s easy to see how the creators could have overestimated their importance by the year 2015. But these days, you can just use a scanner (or even snap a picture with your smartphone) instead of having to contend with a temperamental fax machine.

And phone booths? They’re all but extinct – widespread and worldwide cellphone use has made phone booths a relic of the past.

The Verdict: Fiction

Futuristic Fashion

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the fashion that was supposed to flourish in 2015.

Yeah, we’d say it’s best that this prediction hasn’t come true.

The Verdict: (Thankfully) Fiction