How a typical flying car would look like
You must have watched a lot of movies where flying cars were considered the technology of the 20th century. From Star Wars to Ready Player One and various cartoons, the idea of a flying car has been installed in the minds of a lot of people. But have you ever wondered how it works and the state of productions currently? This article is meant to bring you much information about flying cars and everything you've ever wondered about. But first of all, what is a flying car and how exactly does it work?
1. What are flying cars?
A flying car is a vehicle for individuals that can move both in the air and on the ground. Hover vehicles or cars are other names used for flying cars. When they were first talked about in the early 2000s, they were considered futuristic and many prototypes were invented to showcase the kind of technology that will be used. In as much as none has been produced massively for commercial purposes, there are still expectations that these hover cars will be available within the next decade for anyone who can afford it.
2. How flying cars work
The car works using VTOL performance. VTOL stands for Vertical take-off and Landing, which enables the car to lift off the ground like a helicopter before balancing horizontally and then forging forward.
3. History of flying cars
Henry Ford, one of the pioneers of the Motor car, had predicted in 1940 that flying cars will definitely become a thing in the coming century. Almost 20 years earlier he had invented a Flivver which looks like a flying car - what he called a plane and car combined. Though it didn't conclude it's first flight as it crashed, it didn't stop other companies from delving into the business. Nine years after his prediction, Molt Taylor built a well-designed flying car that successfully flew and made way for more to come. The Aerocar didn't get to be produced in large numbers but it influenced a lot of others. A few years before 1960, the Volante Tri Athodyne was developed by Ford. It gets off the ground like a helicopter, thanks to its ducted fans which are 3 in number and carry their own motors individually.
Other companies also came up with their own prototypes and were of the plan of a craft that will cost a lot less to own. A flying jeep was considered by the research section of the US Army. Piasecki, Curtis Wright, and Chrysler also entered certain deals to see if they can come up with their own types of flying cars. Amongst the 3, the VZ-8 built by Piasecki was a success because of how stable it is in the air. It also has the ability to fly longer distances.
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Years later, the Sky Commuter was built by Fred Barker, a former Boeing engineer. It was smaller than all the previous ones made and was eventually sold on eBay in 2008 for the equivalent of ₦30 million. Aeromobil got an ultralight certificate in Slovakia area for a flying car in 2016. The company plans to make the cars available from 2020. They didn't specify how much it will cost yet. The TF-X flying car by Terrafugia was made in early 2013 and with the plan to be a hybrid air car with self-driving abilities. However, due to how long extra development necessary, it will not be available until 2020. It can also be recharged to last at least 750 kilometers. There is also a single-seater flying car known as Xplorair PX200 in production for the early 2020s. Another set of flying cars is being developed by Kitty Hawk corporation and Zee Aero. Uber is also working on Uber Air.
4. Do flying cars exist today?
Many prototypes of flying cars exist today. The Nirvana Autogyro GyroDrive, Terrafugia, the TF-X car, Lilium, the Xplorair, and so many others. However, due to issues with all these, you cannot really say that operational flying cars exist, at least not commercially. Also, the strict regulations in most countries make no current flying car legally competent to actually move people around every day.
So when flying cars will be available? Well, most flying car prototypes are still in the development stages. From guesstimations, these flying cars are expected to be available from 2020 or 2021 at the earliest.
5. Does Dubai have flying cars?
Dubai is expected to launch Autonomous Aerial vehicles in 2020 and the cars are still in the trial phase. They are expected to have a160 km range in 30 minutes for a start. For now, Dubai is training members of its police force in the use of a flying motorbike, especially for desert patrols.
The flying car expected to be launched in Dubai
6. How much does a real flying car cost and where can I buy one?
If the Sky Commuter that was sold in 2008 on Ebay is anything to go by, a flying car should cost between ₦10 million to ₦100 million on the average. That is a conservative estimate, however. Some speculations put these cars at $10m or well over ₦3billion. The truth is no one knows for sure now. This, however, will be dependent on what features the vehicle will have, what brand it is and where it's made or sold.
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7. Advantages and disadvantages of flying cars
First of all, let's start with the good. Flying cars will reduce traffic congestion in major cities around Nigeria and the world. Since they are likely going to be autonomous vehicles, they will need little or no gas. This feature will not only make them environmentally friendly and save you cost of fueling. Flying cars will also ensure you get to your destination right on time.
As for the disadvantages, there are only two for now. First is safety, since many people won't know how to fly the car just immediately. This will lead to collision or abuse of the airspace. Secondly is the cost of purchasing one. Spending over 2 million dollars will make the cars available to only the rich.
8. Is a flying car safe?
Well, it is flying, so theoretically, it should be pretty safe. However, practically speaking, there is a whole new set of issues. Possibilities of crashes, the potential high speed, and even exposed rotors and the air draft from engines. There is also the matter of how many drivers/pilots will have the necessary skills to actually drive or pilot a flying car.
9. How fast will flying cars go?
Dubai's flying car covers 160km in 30 mins, which is about 320km per hour. Other cars in development may be faster.
10. Nigerian made flying cars
The Nigerian, Durojaiye Obasanjo, who made waves in 2017 for making a flying car, still hopes to get funds for commercial production. This has inspired mechanical engineers to research on it for their university thesis all over Nigeria.
OBASANJO OPERATES HIS MADE IN NIGERIA JET CAR
Another young inventor called OK Japan has also put together a jet car in Gboko Benue state.
Flying car of Gboko native, OK Japan
11. What to expect in future
In conclusion, flying cars will definitely be a trend in years to come. All said and done, expect flying cars to hover around you in the next decade as Aeromobil and other manufacturers are putting in all efforts. Trust Naijauto to bring you the latest information. Perhaps, Innoson will consider making a model in the coming years.