Several projects are going on worldwide to make the dream of flying cars a reality. However, it still appears like a scattered dream for us. Recently, we may have taken a step closer to execute the goal.
Skydrive Inc., a company from Japan (1), has built a car (eVTOL aircraft; electric vertical takeoff and landing) that can manage to take off with a human sitting inside at last.
The company has carried a modest test flight successfully with a sitting inside the flying vehicle cabin.
SkyDrive also released a video of its test flight.
In the SkyDrive video, we can see that the vehicle is looking like a motorcycle with a propeller. The car was lifted 1 to 2 meters above the ground. The carrier hovered in an enclosed area for 4 minutes.
Tomohiro Fukuzawa, SkyDrive head, stated that he hopes to make the dream of “flying car” a reality by 2023. He also acknowledged the fact that its safety is a critical aspect.
Potential Challenges in Commercialisation of Flying Cars
Tomohiro added that over 100 projects are going on worldwide for flying cars. However, only some of them have reached a successful flight with a person on board. He hopes that people will want to ride it while feeling safe inside.
So far, the machine is only able to fly for 10 minutes. However, it has the potential to take a 30-minute flight. These carriers can offer quick personal travel compared to airplanes and helicopters.
However, various challenges still make our dream far from reality. It includes battery sizes, air traffic control, infrastructure, and many others. Overcoming these challenges is crucial before the commercialisation of flying cars.
Sanjeev Singh, Professor, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, who is also working on an eVTOL, stated that no one would buy them if they cost over 10 million USD. People are also unlikely to purchase it if they fly for 5-minutes, or often fall out of the sky.
If the eVOTL is commercialised, it may take some time to win the acceptance of masses similar to cell phones, airplanes, and self-driving cars, said the Sebastian Thrun, Chief executive, Kitty Hawk. He added that social adoption for eVOTL might be quicker than before in current time.