Flying cars: the future is now
April 2017 has been a huge month for the flying car. The last few weeks have perhaps been the biggest ever in the concept’s history. It may sound a bit absurd but cars that fly are most definitely on the horizon. Here are two vehicles that are currently leading the way in the exciting world of flying car technology.
AeroMobil flying car
The Slovak company has been working hard on their vision for a flying car for a long time now and their most recent model was unveiled at the 2017 Top Marques motor show in Monaco just last week. As adept in the air as it is on the road, AeroMobil boast that their vehicle can change between drive and flight modes in less than three minutes. Shaped like a teardrop, the hybrid vehicle’s wings are held tight against the body when on the ground but spread out when the driver decides to go airborne. The AeroMobil is constructed from a carbon composite used in top of the range aircraft and sports cars, making it both lightweight and durable. Safety was a huge priority for AeroMobil when assembling their creation, and it is able to deploy ballistic parachutes to bring the flying car safely back to ground in the event of an accident. Inside the cockpit, the pilot is protected by a monocoque structure that absorbs impacts, and the material on the wings has been pre-impregnated with a catalysed resign to make it stronger and more manoeuvrable. The range in the air is around 700 kilometres with a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour. Costing an estimated $1.2 million, pre orders are currently being taken for the first edition, which is anticipated to be delivered in 2020. It remains to be seen whether aviation laws will allow designs like this to succeed but the idea of avoiding congestion on the roads and using the sky as an alternative highway is hugely appealing, as is the ability to land in areas that aeroplanes and even helicopters can’t. It’s a hybrid too so the environmental impact is minimised as much as possible within the confines of current technology. It’s still a little way off and there are a lot of hurdles still to clear but this is very exciting news indeed. Watch this space!
Lilium air taxi
As well as personal flying cars, there’s also a market for a skybound taxis. Munich-based company Lilium is one of the first to devise a first jet-powered cab. The prototype two-seater jet recently completed its maiden test flight and combines the manoeuvrability of a drone with the speed of an aircraft. It is the first electrically powered zero-emission jet that can take off and land vertically (VTOL). The vehicle will be a five-seater upon release and is to be part of an all-new fleet of air taxis that has the ability to travel long distances rapidly and reach almost any location. The electrically powered zero-emission jet’s direction of travel is managed by a flap system, an innovative alternative to the more conventional quadcopter design. Utilising its VTOL technology, like the Aeromobil 3.0, it will be able to land vertically in small areas such as landing pads on buildings and decreasing congestion and air pollution. All electric and low on noise emissions, this futuristic idea would revolutionise short haul transportation making it cleaner and more efficient, two things the world of transport is aiming for.
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