Friday, April 21, 2017
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Flying gyroscope car and MILLION dollar vehicle with foldable wings unveiled in Monaco
- AeroMobil unveiled its flying car in Monaco on Thursday, and says it will be available for preorder this year
- The radical vehicle is set to cost between 1.2 million and 1.5 million euros ($1.3 million-$1.6 million)
- It has a driving range of about 100 kms (62 miles), but to use it in the air, you'll need a pilot's license
It may not be quite like the Jetsons, but for over a million dollars you too can soon fly around in a car.
A Slovakian company called AeroMobil unveiled on Thursday its version of a flying car, a light-framed plane whose wings can fold back, like an insect, and is boosted by a hybrid engine and rear propeller.
It will be available to preorder as soon as this year but is not for everyone: besides the big price tag - between 1.2 million and 1.5 million euros ($1.3 million to $1.6 million) - you'd need a pilot's license to use it in the air.
However, the firm's rival has also revealed a crossover car-plane, called the Pal-V Liberty, that is said to be more compact than AeroMobile and for a fraction of the cost - $320,000 to $534,000.
'I think it's going to be a very niche product,' said Philip Mawby, professor of electronic engineering and head of research at the University of Warwick.
Several companies are working on flying cars, either like Aeromobil's two-seater that needs a runway, or others that function more like helicopters, lifting off vertically.
But not many companies are seriously looking at marketing these vehicles anytime soon, Mawby said.
'The technology is there... The question is bringing it to the market at an affordable cost, and making it a useful product.'
Among the big questions is how to control the air traffic if there are hundreds of such vehicles zipping through the air.
There is no control except for traditional aircraft, notes Mawby.
So while vehicles like the AeroMobil could be used for recreational purposes by people who have a large piece of land, flying cars are unlikely to become a mass market reality anytime soon, he says.
The AeroMobil has a driving range of about 100 kms (62 miles) and a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph).
When flying, its maximum cruising range is 750 kms (466 miles), and it takes about three minutes for the car to transform into a plane.
'You can use it as a regular car,' said Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of Aeromobil, at the unveiling in Monaco.
Though it is not legal -yet - to take off from a highway.
The previous AeroMobil 3.0 prototype made news in 2014 when it was presented in Vienna, but no test-flight took place then.
It crashed during a test flight in Slovakia in 2015 with its inventor Stefan Klein on board.
He escaped largely unharmed.
Just last week, Aeromobil revealed its flagship vehicle has been redesigned with hundreds of improvements.
With the flying car, AeroMobil aims to make personal transportation more efficient by offering the choice of transport on the road or in the sky - and forever putting an end to traffic jams.
The team has said was built in compliance with the existing regulatory frameworks for both cars and airplanes.
‘By combining aero and car functionality in perfect harmony it heralds a new era in efficient and exciting travel, offering users an unparalleled choice of transport on the road or in the air,’ the AeroMobil team shared in an announcement.
‘AeroMobil aims to make personal transportation vastly more efficient and environmentally friendly by allowing significantly faster door-to-door travel for medium distance trips and in areas with limited or missing road infrastructure.’
The team began this journey in 1990 with a sketch of a vision for the future of transportation.
And over the years, it has morphed into a fully functioning machine.
'We have been developing the concept of a flying car since 1990,' said Tatiana Veber, AeroMobil spokesperson.
'Our first model looked quite bizarre and it would have problems in the regular use.
'That was a signal to improve the concept of the flying car in a way to become an integral part of the regular road traffic.
'The car is constructed to be fueled at regular gas stations using the fuel for Rotax 912 ULS engine.'
Alongside the AeroMobile, Pal-V unveiled its Liberty crossover car plane named Pal-V Liberty, which is the brainchild of Robert Dingemanse, whose company is based near Breda in the south of the Netherlands.
At 13 feet (4m) long, this futurist car is much more compact that the Swedish vehicle and comes at a fraction of the cost.
Posted by ASC at 8:30 PM