Really, it’s closer than you think. Industry insiders say they’re about a decade away and some of the flying car models can now be pre-ordered. The driving force pushing flying cars is gridlock. As anyone knows, trying to get around these days in dense, major urban centres, is a nightmare, leading to frustration and even road rage.
Uber plans to develop a fleet of VTOL aircraft (vertical take-off and landing) that would use so-called vertiports at street level or on top of buildings, and the air service would be an extension of their regular ground-based transportation service. If a client needs to get to the airport, they could take an Uber car for the full trip or take an Uber car to the closest vertiport where they would use a VTOL for the rest of the trip.
If that sounds like a helicopter – it’s similar. There are more than a few prototypes out there but one model – the Terrafugia TF-X – is hoping to take-off within eight years and is taking pre-orders.
It is the first fully autonomous flying car under development by Boston-based Terrafugia.
- The TF-X seats four passengers and uses an engine combined with two electric motors for propulsion.
- The TF-X is capable of vertical take-off and landing by extending its retractable wings attached with pusher propellers while aerial thrust is provided by a ducted fan at the rear. Hmmm, was the DeLorean way ahead of its time?
- The TF-X is powered by two plug-in hybrid 600-horsepower electric motors and a 300-horsepower fuel engine. The planned flight range is 805 km with a cruising flight speed of 200 mph (322 km/h) without the need to refuel or recharge.
- And it will fit into a single car garage – what more can you ask!
Concerns about flying cars
This may shock you but people have some serious concerns about flying cars. ?
For one, many people don’t think they’re really a thing…yet. This, according to an online study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle from the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation program.
They concluded that humanity has been interested in personal, airborne vehicles since the earliest days of the automobile. And based on what we know of history when humans want something, they usually get their way.
Most of the flying cars in recent years aren’t really “cars” in the conventional sense. The TF-X is basically a plane with foldable wings.
There are also worries about the logistics of flying cars. What will aerial highways look like? How to get licensed? Are you a pilot? There needs to be a lot of infrastructures. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is concerned about the noise pollution and wind forces VTOLS to create.
Yet, despite all the challenges, flying cars may be just a matter of time.
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