It’s been the domain of science fiction for many decades. People have dreamed of soaring above the city streets to avoid congestion for long. Many entrepreneurs and inventors have tried to come out with such a car and failed.
But that is likely to change soon.
Almost a dozen businesses from around the world, including some big names with deep pockets, are in competition to bring out the first flying car that actually works. This includes Airbus (EPA:AIR), Terrafugia of Massachusetts that has received a funding of $5.5 million, Moller International, Xplorair that is backed by the backed by the French Armed Forces, and the Dutch business PAL-V, among others.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and a few others are researching drones for the city. But that is more into deliveries.
The Flying Vehicles Under Development
A question for you! What do you call a city vehicle that can fly – an aircraft or a car?
Some of them that are being made right now are cars with wings, but most of them are not cars at all. They typically land and take off vertically, much like helicopters. These vehicles have several small rotors that work by a battery-powered electric motor instead of the piston engines you find in conventional aircrafts.
There Are Still Many Obstacles, Though
Yes, we are closer than ever before to having flying cars, but there are still many obstacles to cross, including convincing regulators that these vehicles are safe. There is also the issue of ensuring there is no congestion and collision above the cities once there are thousands of these crafts flying at the same time. The manufacturers are also working to improve battery technology to make these cars keep flying for longer hours.
But businesses are making good progress because they are seeing a big market for these “air taxis”. Urban areas of the future will be larger and more congested. People will spend a lot more time pushing traffic.
So the demand for personally owned small aircraft that can land on the rooftops of office buildings and be parked there is also likely to be huge. Many landing pads are likely to be developed throughout the cities of the future.
Zach Lovering, who is leading the Airbus (EPA:AIR) project says that we might have the flying car in less than a decade from now. Prices are likely to be steep at first. But they will come down soon. The competition will also make these flying cars affordable.