The concept of flying cars has been around for over a century now and there are around 80 patents on file at the United States Patent and Trademark Office for various kinds of flying cars. Some of these have even flown, but most have not. All have come up short of reaching the goal of a mass-produced flying car for everyday use. If you want to look back at a few of the flying cars that distinguished themselves from the pack, you can check out the history behind it all here: PREVIOUS HISTORY
So what’s been happening lately with flying cars?
The latest effort from Japan, THE SKY DRIVE SD-03, made the recent headlines, but there is so much work going on in this area that it is often hard to get your head around it all.
Most of the likely ones rely upon rotary wing/fan engineering, rather than folding standard wings, and I believe these are more likely for future exploitation. Almost certainly they will have battery-driven electric motors, and lightweight advanced composite structure for the critical parts. The Aston Martin version takes the cake for elegance and style. There are also prototype flying motor cycles, but to me these look extremely dangerous, as well as being somewhat physically uncomfortable for the average commuter.
Some of the more likely vehicles are really large flying drones, engineered for human cargo, and the scope here is enormous eg Ehang 184. These, of course, will not require steering as the destiny will be pre-programmed.
Here are links to just a few other examples, plus a few videos that you may find of interest:
and some Videos to peruse [just give the ads the flick]:
Ten concepts here: VIDEO A
and more here: VIDEO B
and more food for thought: VIDEO C
Then there’s Aston Martin, the most beautiful of all. This vehicle uses all the concepts that bode well for personal flying vehicles. Just love it!
The future of flying cars
The mind boggles, but there are some certainties: For family use, the vehicles will be lightweight with electric motors. The vehicles will not use a runway, or have substantial wings of any kind. They are more likely to be flying drones – so no pilot’s license will be required. They will use GPS systems and not require many on-board controls [except maybe a safety parachute] and will need to talk to all other vehicles in the area for anti-collision purposes. And why have wheels? The whole idea is to ease road traffic.
How long before their introduction? This is a difficult question. Once the engineering has been overcome, the support infrastructure will need to be put in place [including flight and parking safety measures], and a legal framework will have to be developed. So maybe not for at least five decades for general public use — though they could be used as registered taxis well before then. We are much more likely to see a profusion of 100% electric cars and their requisite infrastructure over the next two decades. But that won’t stop human minds accepting the challenge of flying cars, which perhaps should really be called PFVs [Personal Flying Vehicles] as they won’t resemble a car at all.