Which of these flying cars will be in your garage someday?
Watch what these innovative startups are doing to bring personal flying machines from science fiction to reality.
What does it take to get a flying car off the ground?
For the leaders in the race to break flying cars out of the Jetsons' garage and into reality, it's a combination of a waiting game and good old corporate competition, full of plenty of challenges. For one, technology hasn't quite caught up with concept. And the non-pilot public isn't exactly comfortable flying their own vehicles yet.
So, while we eagerly await a new reality where you can hop in your car and hover around town, you can still buckle up and watch these videos of what some startups and starry-eyed entrepreneurs have in mind for a flying-car future.
Israeli aerospace firm Urban Aeronautics was an early pioneer in VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft with its AirMule. Now, the company is developing a version inspired by AirMule and its follow-up, the Cormorant. The above video is from UA's flight test program, where developers have been able to program the aircraft to autonomously identify a marker on the tarmac and accurately land alongside it. Keep watch for more updates as this version makes its way to market within the next five years.
Kitty Hawk Flyer
Is it a flying car? A flying boat? An electric hang glider? A jetski-copter?
It's sort of none of those things, but also all of them. Kitty Hawk, a Silicon Valley-based company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, recently unveiled its Flyer in a video fit for the country club set; i.e. something to add to your yacht collection. It's more than a flying car, and here's the good news: this one's actually going to happen. Kitty Hawk plans to start selling its Flyer by year's end, with a $2,000 starting price. Significantly cheaper than a yacht, so that's something.
Look, up there! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... better than sitting in rush hour traffic? The Chinese-developed EHang vehicle debuted at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show to thunderous acclaim, and now, the city of Dubai is already seeing single-rider, human-sized quadcopters flying over its skyscrapers. It's slated for official roll-out this July.
What's the fastest way to get from Manhattan to JFK airport? (Hint: It's not Uber.) The Lilium jet, developed in Germany, promises to get you there in five minutes flat; but there's a catch. You have to fly it yourself, and you have to turn your backyard into a heliport.
That's right, no runway needed. Your own personal helicopter promises a range of 186 miles at speeds of up to 186 mph, but even after a series of successful test flights, there's no clear sign that the Lilium is ready for prime time.
French giant Airbus has not one, but two VTOL concepts in the offing. Theirs is still in the planning stages, but the potential is certainly sky-high – especially from Pop.Up, an autonomous vehicle that works both on land and in the air. The main objective? To relieve traffic congestion in crowded metropolises, which will be an essential component in the network of smart cities that so many future-facing companies are envisioning. For Airbus, their prized Pop.Up is what happens when the aerospace and automotive world converge in an epic reimagining of urban mobility.
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