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The new era of flying cars is coming. Are you ready?

By Isadora In Artigo Autaza, Automação Industrial, Industria 4.0 — January 24, 2020

24

Jan
2020

Intelligent vehicles flying over large avenues and buildings, without traffic jams, without emitting pollution and even avoiding accidents. Yes, this is the future designed by many companies that have innovation and technology in their DNA. There is much more space in the air for everyone to circulate and this will allow a great revolution in urban mobility.

Who never imagined themselves in the flying car of the eccentric scientist Doc Brown with the famous character of the 80s, Marty McFly in the film “Back to the future”? In 1985, this technology seemed distant, but the predictions still marked an entire generation and inspired several companies.

We are in the 21st century and today the technology needed to have flying cars has already been developed. Large aviation companies, automakers and startups are looking forward to the flying car market, especially with the aim of getting people out of the traffic jams of large cities. UBERAIR, for example, is an Uber project that aims to bring flying cars for urban transport. The company has already revealed that it plans to start testing this year, including in Brazil, so that the service makes its debut in 2023. In addition, the startup has future plans to create autonomous flying cars, making the service even more profitable.

In addition, this month Uber signed a partnership with Hyundai in the construction of these vehicles that fly and can reach 290 km/h (180 mph). The cars will be produced by Hyundai, while Uber will contribute by offering support, ground transportation connections and the platform for customers to order their air travel. The partnership was officially announced during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the largest technological fairs in the world. The futuristic car that houses up to four passengers and one pilot was exposed at the fair, has a speed of 290 km/h (180 mph) and travels between 300 and 600 meters (900 and 1900 feet) above the ground.

Two other large companies with high credibility in the market are also coming together to make a flying car. Boing and Porsche are developing a fully electric aircraft/car. Although the flying car association is with airplanes, most of these will operate as a helicopter and will have a point-to-point connection in an urban environment without the need for an airport. Porsche aims to build flying cars that can be used as taxis and for travel sharing. The German company made a recent study that points out that the urban air mobility market will speed up from 2025.

Another company that promises to enter with full force in this market is the Dutch A Pal-V, which developed a flying car with a range of 1,300 km (800 mi) on the ground and 500 km (300 mi) in the air, the vehicle has propellers that transform it into a kind of gyrocopter, as it has a rear propulsion engine for locomotion. Pal-V will start selling exotic cars starting this year for no less than R$ 1.8 million (US$ 427,348.80). 

On the other hand, there are startups that do not bet on flying cars, but on “giant drones with passengers” — drones that are self-piloted to take individual passengers around the city. The solution could reduce travel time from hours to minutes. 

A super famous giant drone is in Israel and can carry up to 500 kg (1100 lbs) and flies at 185 km/h (110 mph). The sale now begins in 2020 for an average of US$14 million. Urban Aeronautics’ developers believe that this drone, which uses internal rotors instead of helicopter propellers, could remove people from hostile environments or allow safe access to military forces.

It is clear that companies are in a frantic race to win the air, but there are many stones in the way. The biggest challenge of these solutions, whether flying cars or giant drones, will be to reach regulation in all countries and public acceptance, after all they are not so cheap. Would you buy a flying car? What do you think of this innovation? Comment and leave your opinion.

Beatriz Bevilaqua, journalist and passionate about technology!