Flying Cars: Science Fiction or Near Future?

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Flying Cars: Science Fiction or Near Future?

AeroMobil’s CEO, Juraj Vaculik, has announced the company’s plans to make a functional flying vehicle available to consumers by as early as 2017. The vehicle will be based on the prototype AeroMobil revealed back in October 2014. Its initial price is expected to amount to some couple of hundred thousand euro.

The idea of constructing a flying vehicle was born out of AeroMobil founders’ desire to overcome barriers and restrictions faced by air travelers and drivers, including traffic jams, inefficient short-distance air travel, and lack of infrastructure.

For now, though, both Juraj Vaculik and his co-founder Stefan Klein admit the introduction of flying vehicles is concerned with a number of technical, financial and regulatory issues which need to be immediately addressed. Thus, Aeromobil has not found yet the right materials to construct a light enough flying car, while complying with all crash and safety requirements. However, they expect it will only take two years to solve the problem. All the more, the company enjoys strong EU support, both in terms of certification and funding.

The concept of the first consumer vehicle to be manufactured is a posh “flying roadster,” like that from Tesla’s playbook. Packed with Garmin avionics and two-axis autopilots, the carbon-fiber two-seat roadster is expected to be categorized as a light sports aircraft. It will provide for a travel range of around 430 miles, and its operation won’t require any special license. Mr. Vaculik also claims his flying cars will be able to use grass landing strips and will only need 650 feet to take off or land.

Next generation mass-market flying cars, according to Aeromobil, will be fully autonomous hybrids with four seats and a range twice as long as that of roadsters. However, their introduction is rather a matter of distant future, which implies a lot of regulatory and psychological aspects to be taken into consideration before the future can actually happen.

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