Categories Technology

Move over EVs, cars to fly by 2022

To all the muggles out there, a flying car may be coming your way soon! The expectation for flying cars is at a never-before-seen level with many analysts predicting their launch by 2022. The predictions are based on the interest shown by many automobile and technology companies to propel the vehicles off the ground.

Terrafugia, which solely focuses on manufacturing flying cars, had showcased its Transition roadable aircraft at the New York International Auto Show in 2012. Transition, which can run on roads as well as fly, is expected to roll-out by 2019 after undergoing various changes suggested by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Terrafugia Transition Flying Car
Picture Courtesy: Terrafugia

Meanwhile, Uber has unveiled an aerial taxi prototype at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles. The commercial operation of the first fleet is expected to start within five years. Uber is planning to control the airborne taxis initially with pilots but would shift to autonomous mode gradually. It is expected that by 2020, Uber will begin testing flights in select cities and pricing will remain at par with the existing premium taxi service.

As a response to this, a round of test flights was initiated by Google (GOOGL)-backed flying car Cora earlier this year, developed by California-based Kitty Hawk. Cora has 12 lift fans, all-electric, and can reach heights of 150-900 meters with a top speed of 100 miles per hour.

The expectation for flying cars is at a never-before-seen level with many analysts predicting their launch by 2022.

In another part of the globe, the Airbus A3 Vahana is expected to become the first self-piloted all-electric flying car, which boasts of sensors to ensure passenger safety. The production-ready version of the car is expected to be made available by 2020.

Ford (F) has been building prototypes of “aero-car” since as early as 1940. They also had a slight taste of success with the 1957-58 Ford Volante concept car model. However, we are still awaiting a breakthrough here.

The craze for flying cars is not limited to the American continent. A wide range of automakers worldwide are coming out with new versions of their flying car – which includes Slovakian-made Aeromobil, Dutch-made PAL-V Liberty, German-made Lilium Jet, British-made VRCO NeoXCraft etc.

Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, Joe Praveen Vijayakumar says, “This space has been witnessing bustling activity, with new players from various industries entering the race to build flying cars. We have also seen a surge in funding as several companies have raised funds or been acquired by established players from the automotive industry.”

Meanwhile, rising parallel to the enthusiasm over flying cars are the concerns relating to the fuel needed for these vehicles (if not all-electric). Market analysts expect fuel prices to increase further after flying cars hit the roads, as more gasoline is required to take the cars off to the sky.

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