We all remember those amazing futuristic flying cars from sci-fi movies and some of you may have even dreamed of owning one. Well, it seems that such possibility may soon become very real, as Slovakian company AeroMobil promises to release a prototype flying vehicle to the market as soon as in 2017.
The AeroMobil 3.0 is a two-seater car/plane hybrid which can transform from an automobile into an airplane with a simple button touch. It can reach speeds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h) as a car, and 125 mph (200 km/h) as a plane. Moreover, the vehicle is fully autonomous and, thanks to its hybrid engine, has about three hours of flying, with a range of 435 miles (700 km).
Although the concept may sound quite futuristic, AeroMobil’s product designers and engineers did everything to make the hybrid vehicle fit the existing infrastructure. It uses gasoline as fuel and can be filled up at any gas station. Thanks to its compact size, it can be parked in any standard parking space, let’s say a garage. As an aircraft, the vehicle needs only 650 feet (200 meters) for take-off or landing and can use grass landing strips or paved surface.
The concept was first presented at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna in October 2014. However, at that time, the company did not make any announcements about the release date of the innovative vehicle. Now, just a few months later, AeroMobil claims that it could become available for consumers already in two years. According to the company’s CEO Juraj Vaculik, it’s quite feasible.
“[Self-driving] technology is coming to the car, but as an autopilot, it’s already there. There are already systems for taking off and landing automatically. These two technologies can work together,” he told Mashable.
However, there are still some difficulties to overcome before AeroMobil can be released to the consumer market. First of all, mass production requires significant amounts of money, even though Vaculik claims to have the support from the EU and hopes to get public funding. Then, the vehicle needs to be approved by the government to meet regulatory and quality standard requirements. There are also some technical issues, such as making the AeroMobil light enough to fly but sturdy enough to provide safety. It’s needless to say that this requires the use of innovative materials, which can be both lightweight and strong, and increases the cost of construction. Thus, the initial price of the consumer version is estimated to reach a few hundred thousand dollars.
Although we can’t know if the company will eventually keep its promise and put its prototype vehicle on the market in 2017, it’s pretty exciting to think that flying cars may become our everyday reality in just a few years, isn’t it?