Developments in Flying Cars
Achieving autonomy is the current focus area in automotive domain, most of the companies are focusing on the same. But few companies such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Kitty Hawk and others have opened new branch for research which focuses mostly on road able aircraft, hover car, aero car i.e. these companies have started investing in the next generation revolution i.e. flying cars.
On the latest front, Aston Martin has revealed its flying vehicle or road able aircraft concept called Volante Vision. According to the company, it is a sports car for the skies and can also be called as hover car. There are many companies operating in the space of aero car or flying vehicles. Companies such as Uber, Airbus are looking forward to the futuristic electric vehicle which can fly. Uber is focusing on air taxi space. There are many other companies working on the flying car and are profiled in this article.
The consortium of Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Cranfield Aerospace solution has together developed the concept of flying vehicle with vertical landing and takeoff which can accommodate three passengers including the driver. The vertical take-off and landing is a very important concept for safe landing and take-off. The company is envisioning it as the mode of transport for a short range i.e. in large town and cities. The Volante vision is expected to be ready within the next two to three years of time.
Rolls-Royce is focusing on developing an engine for the flying cars. They already have an expertise in the jet engine development and are also trying to venture into the business of flying cars. According to the organization, the engine for the flying car will be ready for commercialization within the next decade. The company is also planning to develop an engine with hybrid propulsion capability. This hybrid propulsion system is expected to achieve a range of 500 miles with a speed of 250 mph. It will be a low noise engine and will have the ability to carry approximately 4 to 5 passengers.
PAL-V Liberty is another company which is planning to venture into the flying car concept. The company has developed a gyroplane with a dual engine i.e. it will enable travel both on land and in the air. The design showcased by the company will accommodate 2 passengers including the driver. It takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to switch between land and air capability, and will have the ability to travel at a speed of 112 mph in the air. The company and its design have received a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in the US and European Aviation Safety Agency.
Kitty Hawk, a New Zealand based company has showcased their self-flying vehicle called Cora. The concept is based on electric engine. The government of New Zealand has supported the project owing to zero emission concept. The flying car operates with both human oversight and self-operating software and it can travel about 100 km with 110 mph of speed on a single charge.
The opener, Canada based company has developed a flying car called Blackfly. It is a single user vehicle which will be propelled electrically and covers a distance of 25 miles with 60 mph in a single charge. The car also has autonomous capabilities.
Uber is also betting on the flying car or aero car concept. The company is looking towards road able aircraft i.e. flying taxi services for its customers to reduce the on-road congestion. The company is planning to launch its fleet by 2023 and in addition, the company is also operating with multiple partnerships such as NASA, Embraer, Pipistrel, and the US Army.
These companies still require financial and technical support to fulfill their vision. In addition, the gap for the skill set is huge. The only option is to transfer the flight technology and make its power and speed compatible enough to offer in the aero car. The skill gap is huge at the moment and if the companies are planning to build something from scratch, it will take more than a decade to release the product in the market. The need is real because of the growing congestion on roads, the technology is real as well, so the companies need to put an effective strategy in play to fulfill their vision, now literally the sky is also not enough to measure the limit of the automotive industry.