AeroMobil: Fifth Element-style flying cars could be on sale by 2017
Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam, looked longingly at the empty sky and wished that your car had wings?
AeroMobil has built a prototype flying car and believes such technology could be available to buy as soon as 2017.
Developed over two decades by a firm based in Slovakia, the AeroMobil is a sporty-looking two-seater car which transforms into a light aircraft and runs on regular petrol.
The latest prototype, the 3.0, is built from carbon-coated steel, and runs at a top speed of 124mph in the air and 99mph on the road. Measuring at around 8.3 metres by 6 metres, it's slightly longer and narrower than the average hatchback.
Speaking at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, company co-founder and CEO Juraj Vaculik said that AeroMobil aims to launch its flagship product in just two years, CBC News reported.
The limited edition car-cum-plane is aimed at a niche market of “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts” and will have a hefty price tag in the region of hundreds of thousands of US dollars, although a final figure has not been set, he said.
And to reassure potentially nervous customers, he added that the craft, which can fly for almost 700 kilometres on regular gasoline, is equipped with partial autopilot and a parachute that will automatically deploy if the pilot falls ill.
“Nobody has to jump out,” he stressed.
But the firm also has plans to bring flying cars to the average driver, and has set its sights on next creating a fully autonomous, self-driving and self-flying machines.
Citing popular taxi-hailing smartphone apps Uber and Lfyt, he added: “If something like a flying Uber and flying Lyft will be on the market, I think many users will find this a very efficient way to move,” he said.
The AeroMobil comes as part of an effort by engineers to move transport technology forward in the 21st century, and just months after Google revealed its self-driving car.
Vaculik predicts that when the technology is accepted, there will be “layers” of the machines flying around – as in the flying cars in films such as 'The Fifth Element'.
However, the public appear nervous of such change, with almost half of consumers admitting they wouldn’t want to be a passenger in such a self-driving car, with a further 16 per cent of people are “horrified” by the idea of being driven in one.
Belfast Telegraph Digital