Uplifting developments inch flying cars closer to reality
TORONTO -- Two significant developments from Europe have given hope to those who dream of one day heading to work in a flying car.
In Slovakia, the research and development company Klein Vision recently unveiled its “AirCar Prototype,” capable of driving on the road and -- after a three-minute transformation -- flying through the air.
While a video of this transition is reminiscent of something out of a Transformers movie, the AirCar is not just a work of science fiction, having completed successful test flights with humans inside.
The AirCar has an estimated range of 1,000 kilmotres on a single fuel tank and can reach speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour through the air.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the Pal-V Liberty -- a two-seater that looks more like a helicopter with wheels -- has been approved for street use throughout the European Union.
"A licence plate is a small thing, but it's a big step in our company," said Pal-V CEO Robert Dingemanse.
The Liberty will initially cost about $600,000 and aims to be ready for 2022. The company said it has already received 30 orders for the flying car, but are still awaiting approval for flight.
"The industry of personal flying is really starting now," said Dingemanse.
Pal-V also said the COVID-19 pandemic has helped with orders.
“With a Pal-V, you can travel -- two of you being one party -- without any infection risk," said Dingemanse.
The Pal-V and the AirCar aren’t the only players in the world of flying cars; the Japanese company Sky Drive Inc. successfully tested its “SD-03” for a four-minute demonstration back in August.
The SD-03 is a small one-seat aircraft more reminiscent of a large drone. It is about the size of two parked cars.
"We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life,” Sky Drive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa said in a statement at the time.
The SD-03 is aiming for a release in 2023 after more safety testing can be conducted. A price point is yet to be announced.