Flying Cars are Almost Here
The future of flying cars might be a lot closer than you think. While it’s commonplace to see drones of all sizes flying around, soon the skies will be filled with automobiles with wings. While futurist has long touted flying vehicles, from as far back as the 60s, the technology is finally here.
There are multiple companies vying to take the lead in this exciting new industry. One such firm, Slovakian based AeroMobil, says that they are close to releasing a flying car that can be stowed in a person’s garage, much like any other vehicle. The company announced its prototype type concept at a recent Austin Texas technology summit. In less than one year, AeroMobil plans to have a finished product ready for commercial purchase.
Vehicles that Fly Will be Expensive
Representatives from the firm claim that there is a big and growing market for hybrid cars. There is not only demand from aeronautic enthusiasts but also car collectors. One drawback from many consumers is price. Flying cars have a sky-high price. While no price is set for the AeroMobil product, executives have stated it will cost several hundred thousand U.S. dollars. That is as much as a nice house in most parts of the U.S. However, the firm says they have already received a huge interest and have taken deposits for the first production run.
One potential drawback is insuring these hybrid vehicles. Comparison auto insurance site AllianceInsurance.net states that no major provider currently has coverage for flying cars. To put it simply, the market is not there yet. That is a big hurdle for consumers that purchase their hybrid cars. They must be insured when they drive on the roads and likewise, must have insurance coverage when they fly in the air.
There are a few specialty insurers that will probably insure these winged cars. Another problem is the market at this time is so small. While no one knows for sure, a monthly premium on a flying car could be over $500 a month, depending on how much it will be used and the location. Driving and flying in a crowded city like New York or Los Angeles is a lot more dangerous than out in the middle of rural Kansas. Once these vehicles become more mainstream, expect the bigger insurers to enter the market and premiums to go down a bit.
The Skies the Limit
It’s been about five years since 5 MIT engineers got together and formed Terrafugia. This upstart is also close to releasing a hybrid model and has leading-edge technology.
The concept is a plane that can also be driven. The engineers are still working out multiple challenges beyond the technology of the hybrid car. These include weather issues, airport permits, and how to get clearance to land in metro areas.
The first model, named the Transition, will fly at over 100 miles per hour. On the road, things get a big slower with speeds up to 35 mph. Engineers say the hybrid will get about 20 miles per gallon, which is better than most full-sized pick-up trucks. One of the things that sets the Transition apart from many of its competitors is the so-called folding wings. This makes it possible to easily store it in a 2-car garage.
New Concept Vehicles are Being Developed
Other concepts are being developed that both fly and drive. This includes helicopter-based automobiles that have a shorter range than the hybrid planes, but will cost a bit less. Some futurists predict flying autonomous vehicles in the next ten years that will pick you up, much like Uber, and safely fly or drive you to your destination.
One thing that is certain is the future is exciting and full of change. Flying cars will surely be here in the masses in the coming years and change transportation forever.