Do you remember the classic cartoon from the minds of Hanna-Barbera called The Jetsons? I’m sure you do. It was set in the future where, amongst other things, people’s normal mode of transportation was the flying car. It look as though the future isn’t so far away after all, as the race to bring the world’s first flying car to market is on. In Vienna, a small Slovakian start-up has unveiled what they have called the “world’s most advanced flying car.”
The car was recently shown off at the Pioneers Festival, an annual conference on innovation that is held at Vienna’s Hofburg Palace. The car itself is a fully-operable prototype and is approximately the size of a minivan. This is a long cry from the flimsy, pre-prototype version the company presented twelve months prior to this event.
The Aeromobil 3.0 is powered by a 100-horsepower, four-cylinder Rotax engine, and has a top-flight speed of 100 mph and a range of up to 500 miles. The altitude is limited to 9,800 feet as the cabin of the vehicle is not pressurized.
The cockpit has a dual-navigation system, which allows the driver to switch from steering wheel to piloting controls effortlessly. On the exterior of the car, the frame is made of light-weight carbon-fibre and the retractable carbon-fibre wings are hitched at a 3 degree incline in order to provide better stability. In addition the vehicle comes with lots of enhancements such as GPS, autopilot and an emergency parachute system.
Juraj Vaculík, co-founder and chief executive, claims the vehicle is safe to operate and is designed so that anyone with a pilot’s license can fly it; it is akin to a Sandpiper. On the road, the Aeromobil 3.0 drives just as a standard car does.
Vaculík explains, “The technology is there, so the biggest challenge has always been meeting the standards of regulators…Nothing is in place to deal with something like a flying car, but we are feeling pretty good about the possibilities because the Slovakian government has been supportive of what we’re doing and are willing to work with us to make it happen.”