Ever since I first experienced watching futuristic film and sci-fi programmes, I have always been fascinated with the concept of the flying car. I cannot wait until those infuriating traffic jams are a thing of the past. I was thrilled when I discovered humanities futuristic fantasy maybe be just around the corner. Here are the five real flying car concepts I am most excited about, and they are set to be in our skies pretty soon:
The Aeromobil Flying Car
Aeromobil is a Slovakian company developing a transforming flying car. It aims to manufacture and sell 500 flying cars and sell them for $1.2 million each. It has retractable wings that fold out when the driver wishes to leave the tarmac and take to the skies. On current prototypes, it takes just 3 minutes to transform from road car to aircraft. It does not have vertical takeoff abilities like some other flying car prototypes, but if there is enough road ahead to use as a runway, you could propel yourself over traffic jams.
Lilium Aviation Jet
Lilium Aviation is in development of a 5-seater "flying taxi" which is essentially a battery-powered vertical take-off jet. The main benefit of developing this type of vehicle is that the Lilium Jet only needs an area of 15 meters square to take off and to land. A full-size prototype of this vehicle completed a test flight back in April in Munich, Germany. The aim is for the finished vehicle to boast a 190-mile range with speed averaging around 190mph, though to hit these ambitious specifications Lilium Aviation are waiting for improvements in current battery technology. They say once this happens the jet will be able to compete with the cost of traditional taxi companies while getting passengers to destinations five times quicker. This exciting prospect has gained the financial backing from high profile investors, one of them being the co-founder of Skype, Niklas Zennström.
Airbus envisage a modular flying car, where a passenger pod would convert from flying to driving depending on which attachment it was connected to. When the vehicle needs to fly, technology adapted from the advancements in drone technology will guide an eight-rotor flying attachment to the pod then pick it up and carry it to its destination. When on the ground the pods will be connected to wheels that can also connect to other pods, creating a sort of land train. It will most likely be more of an autonomous taxi service than a personal vehicle. In-between ferrying passengers the pods will automatically head to recharging stations. The target range for the Airbus PopUp is 60 miles.
Flike is not so much a flying car, but more like a flying motorcycle, it consists of a seat surrounded by three circular cases which each contain two rotors to provide enough downforce to lift the weight of a human being. There has already been a successful flight with a prototype, work is ongoing, and it looks promising. Flike aims to achieve speeds of 100kph with versions of the vehicle intended for an hour air time.
Skydrive Flying Car
Skydrive is an ambitious real flying car project currently in development by Cartivator which is backed by automobile giants Toyota and Nissan. Japan wants to use the Skydrive during their 2020 world Olympics to light the Olympic flame in Tokyo. The plan is for the Skydrive to become commercially available after the 2020 Olympics. Cartivator aims for their creation to fly at an altitude of 10m over the ground with a max flight speed of 100 km per hour.
The variety of flying car highlighted in this article is few of the many flying vehicles currently in development. Though the vehicles themselves are not too far away from completion, before they become widely available there is inevitably issues that need to be addressed. Such as how much are the first flying cars going to cost? What infrastructure is going to be required? What laws and safety regulations will need to be in place? But one thing is for certain, how we commute in the not too distant future is about to change forever and I for one cannot wait to see humankind's dream of the city skyline adorned with the activity of personal flying cars come to life and no longer be confined to the realms of futuristic sci-fi.
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- Jack Stewart (2017).Can't Decide What Kind of Flying Car to Get? Try These 10. Retrieved from Wired.
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- The Guardian (2017).Electric flying car that takes off vertically could be future of transport. Retrieved from The Guardian.
- Roberts & Milford (2017).The Future of Flying Cars: Science Fact or Science Fiction? Retrieved from Singularity Hub.
- Peter Lyon (2017).Toyota Backs Radical Flying Car Project That Will Light Tokyo's Olympic Flame In 2020. Retrieved from Forbes.