The idea of flying cars has been around since the early 20th century. French novelist and playwright, Jules Verne made the world go crazy with “The Terror”, a vehicle with wings capable of flying through space. Since then the iconic flying car has starred in many science fiction novels and popular TV shows and movies like the Jetsons, Back to Future and even Harry Potter.
The concept of the flying vehicle has evolved through the 20th century with many inventors trying to make the breakthrough. In the 1940’s Henry Ford had said “Mark my word[s]: a combination [of an] airplane and [a] motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” . He may have failed at an attempt to actually build one but flying cars are now a reality thanks to Aeromobil. The Slovakia based company, has unveiled a production version of their flying car. Hard to believe?
The Car: A Unique Concept
The AeroMobil 4.0 is the latest version of flying cars launched by AeroMobil and designed by Štefan Klein. This specific variant was launched earlier this year and is claimed to be their final and commercial variant. Shaped oddly like a small aircraft, the flying car looks nothing like a conventional “car”. In fact the car has fold-able wings and requires a runway to take off and land. Not quite what we had in mind.
The company has announced that it would start taking orders with the vehicles to be delivered by 2020. The company has also announced that it plans to manufacture only 500 units initially. Currently the AeroMobil 4.0 is certified to operate only in Europe but it has plans to expand to other countries also.
AeroMobil claims that the car in its non-flying mode has a top speed of 160kmph and can reach 100kmph in about 10 seconds. It has a maximum range of 100 km on land and about 750 km through the air. The company has also said that the car takes less than three minutes to transform into flight mode with a maximum take-off weight of 960kg.
Flying Cars in the Future
Aeromobil is just one of the many companies who want to take to the skies. Companies like Uber and Airbus are working on Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicles (VTOL). Terrafugia, an MIT based startup now owned by Volvo, has also designed a flying car called Transition, which is somewhat similar to the AeroMobil and requires a runway to take-off.
Though the idea of owning a flying car may seem fascinating, the car remains beyond the reach of those with slim pockets. The Aeromobil 4.0 is expected to cost around $1.2 – $1.6 million.
Elon Musk however has taken a very different approach as his ‘The Boring Company’ is digging tunnels for locomotion to happen underground. Surely one does fear the possibilities of a flying car’s engine to fail and crash down on one’s head.