AeroMobil, a Slovakian company, has unveiled its flying car version. It is a light-framed plane boosted by a hybrid engine and rear propeller. Its wings also fold back.
When it was unveiled in Monaco, Juraj Vaculik, co-founder, and CEO of AeroMobil said, “Today is a transformative day for the future of travel, as the launch of the AeroMobil means that everyday flying transportation will soon be a reality. To get to this point has seen us bring together a strong team of the best minds and experts in cutting edge automotive, motor sport, and aerospace to redefine the boundaries of what is possible in transportation.”
Philip Mawby, professor of electronic engineering and head of research at the University of Warwick, said, “I think it’s going to be a very niche product. The technology is there…The question is bringing it to the market at an affordable cost, and making it a useful product.”
The flying car will be sold at a price between $1.3 million to $1.6 million. Plus, a pilot’s license will be necessary for buyers to use it.
The AeroMobil has a top speed of 160 kph, and on air, it can cruise to 750 km. Within three minutes, the car can transform into a plane.
The company said that its flying car is open for pre-orders and deliveries will start in 2020.
The company said that it was able to raise $3.2 million in cash from its supply partner Patrick Hessel to help in developing this model of its flying model.
The company aims to make 500 units of their flying car to be sold to the public. According to Stefan Vadocz, AeroMobil Chief Communications Officer, if you want to fly the car, you will need an airfield or other approved place to take off. Also, you will need both driving and pilot licenses.
Currently, the flying car is certified to operate in Europe, but plans of expansion include the US and China.
AeroMobil CTO Douglas MacAndrew, said, “The aircraft regulation for both the US and Europe are very very similar indeed. Within months of being able to sell the vehicle in Europe, we will also be able to sell in the US market.”
Some of the safety features of the flying car to allay fears of accidents include a parachute that will help it glide down if the vehicle busts its engine. There are also air-bags for road and air accidents.
Other companies that have expressed their interest in making flying cars include Uber and Zee.Aero which is funded by Google co-founder Larry Page. However, a fundamental difference is that AeroMobil can both be on the road and the sky as well. Their competitors are using VTOL (Vertical Take-Off Landing) aircraft which doesn’t require a runway but are not meant to be driven.
In 2015, the previous AeroMobil prototype took a test flight in Slovakia, but unfortunately, it crashed. Luckily, its inventor Stefean Klein who was on board the plane was largely unharmed.