Roads would need to double as runways if a Slovakian company’s vision for a flying car, unveiled in Austria yesterday, ever takes off.
The "AeroMobil", developed and successfully test-flown by the company of the same name, saw its world premiere at the Pioneers Festival technology show in Vienna, 29 October.
In development since 1990, the AeroMobil 3.0 prototype has retractable wings, a propellor at the rear, and can take off and land even on relatively rough terrain, the company says.
Real flight testing began this month on the hybrid vehicle, which is built largely from advanced composite materials.
The steel-framed two-seater can take off once it hits 130km/h, will cruise at 200km/h, and can fly 700km on a tank of gas (AeroMobil)
AeroMobil says the all the main features of version 3.0 are likely to be incorporated into the final product, including avionics equipment, autopilot and a parachute system.
"As a car it fits into any standard parking space, uses regular gasoline, and can be used in road traffic just like any other car," the company said. "As a plane it can use any airport in the world, but can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few hundred meters long."
The steel-framed two-seater can take off once it hits 130km/h, will cruise at 200km/h, and can fly 700km on a tank of gas, according to the specifications. AeroMobil says it is "very close" to commercial launch of the final product.
"We want to make personal transportation exciting, more efficient and sustainable," said AeroMobil’s chief technology officer, Stefan Klein, in an interview with The Guardian. "With ever more cars on the roads and ever more crowded airports, travelling is no longer what it used to be."
AeroMobil says it is "very close" to commercial launch of the final product (AeroMobil)
Many will find the idea of a flying car attractive – like something out of The Jetsons, or The Thunderbirds. But practical difficulties are likely to prevent any sort of mass adoption.Â
For one thing, drivers would need both a driving licence and a pilot’s licence to operate it. For another, take-offs and landings on busy highways would be a recipe for mayhem.
Nevertheless, it could easily become the must-have accessory of the very rich. The ability to take off from a highway and fly straight home to land on an expansive lawn will have strong appeal.
Explore and watch the AeroMobil fly here.