Some companies are working to launch within a couple of years the first flying cars: they will be little bigger than drones and will have a limited autonomy
The conquest of space and sky has always been one of the great dreams of man. And by now it has become a normality to travel by plane or see the launch of some geostationary satellite. But the future could give us a novelty: the flying car.
Many sci-fi movies have shown flying cars capable of flying through the sky and making roads useless. But it seemed, indeed, only science fiction. Instead, it will most likely become reality. Some companies are working on some aircraft that can carry one or two people from one part of the city to another. Real flying cars capable of drastically reducing city traffic. The shape is similar to that of helicopters, but the operation is more like that of drones. The autonomy, in most cases does not exceed half an hour, but the projects are still in the early stages. Here are the 7 most advanced flying car projects.
German company e-flight has presented a flying drone that will replace cabs in the coming years. Volocopter 2X is a vertical take-off, all-electric aircraft that can carry up to a maximum of two people. The first examples will be produced for 2018 and if the company receives the authorizations will begin testing to use the flying car as if it were a cab. Volocopter's autonomy is only 17 minutes. Over the next few years, the company would like to receive all permits to become a commercial carrier.
Airbus is also interested in the flying car industry and has launched Project Vahana, a self-driving taxi-drone that can carry a maximum of one person. The aircraft is propelled by six rotors, while driving is handled by artificial intelligence. You can book a ride via the app and the flying car will arrive in a matter of minutes. The most difficult challenge concerns the construction of the hybrid engines and electric batteries that will have to guarantee a range of at least a couple of hours. Airbus would like to present the first models by 2020
(Taken from press release)
Always from Airbus comes another flying car idea: Pop.Up. This time, however, the project is much more interesting and could see the light of day soon. Pop.Up is a vehicle capable of transforming itself into a flying drone if necessary, but it can also be used as a normal car. If there is traffic, just press a button from the roof will pop out four rotors that will allow the car to take flight. Pop.Up can carry up to a maximum of two people and is completely autonomous and electric. It has been realized together with Italdesign. A company from the Bel Paese that also collaborates with car manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen.
After revolutionizing the rental car sector, Uber is ready to change the flying cab market as well. The U.S. company has presented the Uber Elavate project, small vertical take-off aircraft. Uber's idea is to create networks of flying cabs that can speed up the movement from one part of the city to another. The first prototypes should be ready by 2020.
One of the most advanced flying car projects is definitely the Ehang 184, presented at CES 2016. The Chinese company has already obtained the authorizations for the first tests and would like to commercialize the taxi-drone as soon as possible. The aircraft touches a speed of 100 kilometers per hour, but at the moment it has a range of only thirty minutes. Ehang 184 is self-driving and therefore no driver's license is required. It could also be commercialized by 2018. The cost? Between two hundred thousand and three hundred thousand euros.
Terrafugia is a flying car with a range of as much as 500 miles, about 800 kilometers, but the only problem is we will probably only see it in 2025. The flying car is self-driving and a user only has to get in and choose the final destination.
Larry Page, one of Google's founders, is also working on a super-secret project to bring a vertical take-off flying car to market. At the moment everything is top secret, but it is very likely that in the coming months we will know more. From the few news that we have, the aircraft would have already done the first tests, and the only images available are those of a patent filed by the startup Zee.Aero, owned by Larry Page himself.