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Flying Cars

Flying Cars
Could be a reality sooner than expected
Uber and Airbus are working on it
By Stella Law

TP 201905 FUTURE 02椋炶姹借溅
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If you think flying cars are a fancy concept that only fits the realm of sci-fi in pop culture, well, we hate to break it to you that you might have some serious catching up to do.

 

Granted that they are yet to flood the urban skies unlike how many futurism enthusiasts, from say the 80s or the 90s, had envisioned future cities would look like by 2020. But, if recent progress is to be taken into account, things are progressing fast as a number of companies gearing up to make personal air travel a reality in the coming years.

 

If all goes as per plan, these vehicles, dubbed VTOL (short for vertical take-off and land), will be up and running in our skies as soon as the next decades.

 

The Front Runners in the Race to Launch the 1st Flying Cars

Uber has been eying the potential in the personal air travel sector since somewhere around 2016. In 2018, the ride-hailing giant announced that its first tests involving VTOLs would kick off in Dallas, Dubai, and Los Angeles in 2020.

TP 201905 FUTURE 03The craft Uber is working on somewhat resembles a hypothetical modern miniature variant of the turboprop plane. However, there is a key difference. These flying cars will be optimized to be able to take off from and land on designated sky ports placed on multiple spots across the city.

 

Each of these electric Uber VTOL vehicles will have enough firepower to attain a speed of 150mph and they will support one pilot and up to four passengers. There will be an automated system on board to steer the vehicle, although the pilot can take control whenever it is necessary.

 

Note that Uber is not the only company to be harbouring the ambition of becoming the first to introduce personal flying cars. AeroMobil, a company based out of Slovakia, is working on its VTOL, too.

TP 201905 FUTURE 04AeroMobil has already built a number of prototypes, all of which currently loosely goes by the brand name itself. According to some sources, the first shipment of these vehicles to private owners could sail at some point in 2020.

 

Meanwhile, Airbus is also preparing its own VTOL under the codename of Project Vahana. These electric vehicles entirely run on a sophisticated autopilot system, doing away with the need to hire drivers or train yourself to drive one.

TP 201905 FUTURE 05Since the first tests in 2018, Airbus has conducted more than 50 test flights of the Vahana and is believed to be preparing for an initial release date at some point in 2020.

 

Other notable VTOL aircraft projects currently underway include Kitty Hawk's Flyer; the Volocopter 2X; Workhouse SureFly; and Opener BlackFly, just to name a few.

TP 201905 FUTURE 06However, the important thing to note here is that for any of these projects to enter the commercial phase with a market to tap on, there has to be adequate infrastructural support along with a proper regulatory framework. In the absence of either, flying cars will only remain a distant dream despite being within the grasp of our technological reach.

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