NEW YORK: Flying cars are no longer just a dream as Slovakian start-up company AeroMobil has developed a hybridised vehicle which may be available as soon as 2016.
Aeromobil 3.0 over a century after the Wright brothers completed their first successful flight and Henry Ford introduced the world’s first mass market automobile, the two technologies have come together to form the first consumer flying car. Although the European Union has supported research into flying vehicles in an attempt to find a solution to traffic congestion for years, AeroMobil’s third working prototype proves that the company is likely ahead of the pack with their technology. The AeroMobil 3.0 seats two people, runs on regular fuel and can drive on standard roads. The flying car needs to reach a speed of 130 kilometres per hour, and requires an open road of 200 meters to lift off, can safely fly as fast as 200 kilometres per hour, and only needs 50 meters of open road to land. The car can fly distances of up to 700 kilometres.
A stationary version of the car was presented in Vienna at the end of October. The developers initially planned a public test flight which was cancelled due to government transport restrictions, proving that there will be a lot of red tape before the vehicle can be released into certain markets. However, the founders are confident and the company’s CEO Juraj Vaculik says, “We truly believe that this will change personal transportation.”
The flying vehicle has been in the making for twenty-five years since company co-founder and engineer Stefan Klein began working on a winged contraption in his garage. Klein was a department head at the Slovakian Academy of Fine Arts and Design, and also worked on building an excavator for a Swiss company and a golf cart for a Polish company, before focusing his efforts on the flying car. Juraj Vaculik joined the venture after a career in advertising.
Although the vehicle may be convenient and eventually help decongest the highways as well as get commuters to their destinations faster, it will initially not be a viable option for anybody without sufficiently deep pockets to purchase it. It will take at least two years until it is ready for mass production and when released, will likely have the same cost as a “super luxury roadster” and a small airplane combined, according to Vaculik.