When you looking to purchase a mechanically solid car, most mechanics and auto dealers in Nigeria will likely advice that you go for a car built by a Japanese auto manufacturer. And most often than not, Toyota will be dancing on their lips like a lollipop. Toyota has succeeded in building a global brand famed for its mechanical reliability and futuristic innovations like the Toyota Concept-i which is Toyota’s debut vehicle in the autonomous field.
Cementing its position as a champion of innovation, Toyota recently patented a design for a flying car that makes use of rotor blades. This is Toyota’s statement of intent in possibly developing a flying car. We at Naijauto are putting our ears on the wall for gist on when Toyota intends to begin production of this patented design. We however believe that this will be happening in not so distant time, as other companies are already investing in flying vehicles. For instance, UBER hopes to debut UBER Air by 2023 while Aston Martin is seriously developing its Volante Vision concept.
1. Picture of Toyota flying car design
Toyota refers to the patented flying car a dual mode vehicle. This implies that the vehicle will be able to operate on land as a traditional car, as well as be able to perform flight maneuvers when needed. The dual mode vehicle will most likely be an electric vehicle.
The dual mode vehicle will most likely be an electric vehicle
Notes on components of the design:
- 100 - dual mode vehicle
- 102 - wheels
- 104 - wheel arm
- 106 - central pivot
- 108 - wheel cover
- 110 - stabilizers
- 200 - support arm
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2. Technical aspects of Toyota patented flying car design
The cars will have the following components and parts that will enable it execute flight operations and drive on land safely.
The patent shows that the vehicle will be fitted with four wheels connected to a wheel arm. (However, the patent does not mention what type of tires will be employed, either airless tire or the traditional pneumatic tires). The wheels will be so designed that the interior can accommodate other special components.
- Central Pivot
The central pivot is a very critical element of this concept. It is responsible for holding the wheel arms in place and there are two of them on each side of the vehicle’s body. This component is an integrated joint assembly that is very critical for the flight mode of the vehicle.
Toyota seems truly eager about flying car concepts
It is also very important in land travel as it helps adjust the clearance height of the vehicle depending on the kind of performance the driver requires while driving. The Central Pivot can be rotated longitudinally against the axis of the vehicle and is hinged to the vehicles body by support arms which can rotate about its own axis.
- Wheel Assembly
The wheel assembly includes several critical components that are required for the flight mode. These components include the Rotor, the stanchions and the rotor blades. The stanchion appears to be coupled directly to the wheel, while the compound component is further coupled to the rotor which is powered by an electric motor. The stanchions are upright supports that hold the rotor blades in place.
This patent shows two rotor blades, implying that two stanchions will be employed for each blade. The wheel assembly components are protected within the wheel by a wheel cover, which protects these components when the vehicle engages in land travel.
Toyota do not specifically state the source of electrical energy that will be used to power the motors but we feel that batteries may be the best option.
Stabilizers are very essential especially when the vehicle is about to initiate the flight mode. It is the component that supports the vehicle when the tires are rotated up in the air just before the vehicle begins its flight. We do not currently know the material from which the stabilizers will be made from, but it will definitely be able to support the weight of the vehicle, as well as manage stress buildup at the points of load.
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3. Working Principle of Toyota patented flying car design
3.1. Land Mode
The car travels on the road using its wheels which are attached to a central pivot by wheel arms. This is different from traditional cars that each wheel connected to an axle singularly. The wheels are powered by electric motors and the wheel arms can be adjusted up and down to either reduce or increase the ground clearance of the car as wanted. A suspension system are incorporated to enhance smooth and safe ride on the road.
The four rotating wheel, along with the 8 spinning rotor blades initiates lift that enables the car to fly
3.2. Flight Mode
To initiate the flight mode, the wheels arms lower the vehicle by gradually rotating upwards, so that the car rest completely on the stabilizers on the ground. The central pivot and the wheel arm are then further rotated upwards. At that time, the wheels are up in the air with the wheel cover section facing up.
To initiate lift, the wheels are powered, resulting in the wheel cover extending outwards and allowing the rotor blades to exit the wheel chamber and be free to spin. The four rotating wheel, along with the 8 spinning rotor blades initiates lift that enables the car to fly.
Note: This patented design does not indicate if it’s possible to seamlessly initiate the flight mode while doing land travel without having to bring the vehicle to rest first. That’s an Engineering challenge for the Toyota Group and we at Naijauto hope they will invite us to the design team and future launch of this one.