Flying cars will be a reality by 2030, while many engineers across the globe are busy trying to get this science fiction-Esque into reality.
According to Michael Cole, the chief executive of the European operations of South Korean carmaker Hyundai, the company has made very significant investments in urban air mobility and flying cars will be a part of the future.
He further said, “We think that by the latter part of this decade certainly, urban air mobility will offer a great opportunity to free up congestion in cities, to help with emissions, whether that’s intra-city mobility in the air or whether it’s even between cities.”
There are a number of companies involved in the tussle to get the first fully functional flying car up in the air. Watch AirCar prototype complete its first intercity flight in Slovakia, as it takes off from Nitra airport and lands in Bratislava 35 minutes later. It uses wings that fold away in less than three minutes and features a propeller at the rear end. AirCar has already completed more than 40 hours of the test flight.
The other upcoming flying cars to watch out for in the future are:
Sebastian Thrun, CEO, Kitty Hawk, is confident of Flyer being as easy to use as Minecraft. After the project was axed in June 2020 the company is refocusing on a larger, winged aircraft named Heaviside with a 100-mile range and a 180mph top speed. Reports suggest it will be able to fly over cities, though there is no information when it will make its debut.
The Volocopter 2X’s is being developed in Germany, with an ambitious design that makes it look cool. It features 18battery powered rotors that can be controlled via a joystick.
After showcasing a full-sized model at CES 2018, the company has now come up with Volocopter 2X that can accommodate 2 passengers. With a flight time of 30 minutes, it has a range of 17 miles between charge centers.
Intel is also involved in the project with its complex text which includes four independent sensor units to control positioning, nine different electric battery packs with built-in redundancies, and even a parachute stowed on top of the vehicle in case something goes wrong.
Earlier in October 2019, Volocopter 2X was showcased in the skies of Singapore during its two-minute flight.
The SureFly will offer a durable and self-controller flying experience to commercial operators and consumers. Developed by Workhorse, a division of Moog, Superfly will have 8 propellers and a top speed of 75mph.
SureFly operates on gasoline and battery which gives it additional 10 minutes of flight time. It is a workhorse when it comes to carrying cargo the earlier version was able to lift around 400 pounds of cargo while the heavy-duty version can light up to 650 pounds of cargo. This has captured the interest of the American military.
It is easy to operate as it comes with two controls: a joystick to control the direction and throttle control on the pilot’s door.
Hyundai Flying Taxi
Hyundai has hired NASA veteran Dr. Jaiwon Shin led its campaign in the segment. The company released its prototype at CES 2020, it is huge and seats upto 5 passengers. It can cruise around at an altitude of 1000 to 2000 feet with a top speed of 200 MPH and a 60 miles range.
The Hyundai flying taxi will be an electric aircraft and it plans to recharge them in 5 to 6 minutes. According to the company the flying taxi segment is expected to grow into a market worth $1.5 trillion within the next 20 years.
Porsche-Boeing Flying Taxi
Porsche and Boeing have joined hands to develop luxurious flying taxis. Preliminary sketches suggest a sleek winged vehicle with a wrap-around windshield. The project is still in its early stages, we can witness further design changes in the near future as it progresses.
It is pretty certain it is going to be a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle, fully electric, stylish, and innovative. Currently, the team of engineers is working on a prototype that will be tested in 2020.
Project Vahana, from Airbus, is working on an electric VTOL aircraft with autopilot. This will save costs when it comes to training or hiring pilots. The vehicle will offer taxi services benefits as vehicles can automatically return to centers for maintenance or take a different route based on current orders.
Earlier in 2018, test Vahana prototype managed to undergo a full-scale flight test where it rose 16 feet off the ground and stayed there for 53 seconds, though not entirely using the autopilot technology. After conducting nearly 50 test flights, it seems to be on track to make its debut in 2020.
Slovakia-based AeroMobi hybrid flying cars are designed to take off from a runway, like a plane, but also have the ability to morph into a car-like vehicle to drive on the road. Currently working on its fourth prototype which goes to show the company means business. AeroMobi has collaborated with organizations like Starburst, an aerospace accelerator, to help reach its goal.
Jaunt Aviation’s helicopter-airplane hybrid
Jaunt Aviation joined hands with Triumph Group to develop a flying taxi, it looks like a cross between a helicopter and a plane. The company plans to address its primary concern associated with helicopters ie. noise. The company uses its proprietary technology to reduce the speed of its main motor while flying to remain relatively quiet.
The other noteworthy partnership is with Honeywell, a company that will provide navigation software flight control technology, and an electric propulsion system to Jaunt.
Joby Aviation air taxi
Joby Aviation is back with a bang after receiving a cash infusion from the likes of Toyota and Intel. The company earlier in December 2020 acquired Uber Elevate, the ridesharing giant’s flying-taxi unit.
Joby’s VTOL aircraft features six electric motors that power the flying machine. It has a flying range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 mph and can seat up to five people.
After making its appearance at CES, Ehang 184 has gone a long way, especially after claiming its personal quadcopter VTOL to be fully automated, totally safe, comfortable, and powered via a touchscreen interface anyone can use. It still continues making claims such as the vehicles being tested for more than a thousand times in all situations including gale-force winds, with 500 pounds of extra weight, and so on.
According to Ehang each of its taxis will have a command center, it will automatically ground the flying car in poor weather conditions and the models are primarily designed to fly in basic U-shapes from one port to another, something its prototypes are capable of.
The financial condition of the company seems weak, especially after it files for bankruptcy in 2018. Though the company has raised $100 million from an IPO in November things look bleak for it to inspire confidence.
Transition is a hybrid model designed with retractable wings and wheels which makes it at home when it’s on the ground or the skies. Powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain and a boost mode for that extra burst of speed while flying.
The company is owned by Geely, a Chinese firm with its portfolio consisting of companies such as Volvo, Lotus, Polestar, the London Taxi Company, with around 10% stake in Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, and half of the Smart car brand. The company had plans to sell the car at $280,000, though it is not refraining from providing a list price. Geely is a strong contender when it comes to building a flying car.
BlackFly is developed by Canadian firm Opener, with a combination of personal piloting and automatic features. This includes auto-landing and automated return home functions which allow you to fly without the need for formal licensing.
BlackFly features eight rotors like in drones positioned across two wings. With a unique style of taking where the VTOL is made to rock back and forth to literally pick up momentum to launch upward.
It can fly around a 40-mile range at 72mph, although regulations limit those numbers substantially for those who want to fly their own aerial vehicles.