Flying cars to hit the roads and skies as early as next year

21 Apr 2017

AeroMobil on display at 2016 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) event. Image: WIPO/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Flying cars are getting closer and closer to reality as two European companies revealed their first models at a supercar show in Monaco.

By the end of the decade, those looking up at the skies might just spot one of the first commercially available flying cars, if everything goes according to plan for two European start-ups.

According to AFP, two companies – one Dutch and one Slovakian – revealed their prototype models at a Top Marques supercar show in the principality of Monaco, drawing considerable attention from wealthy buyers.

Dutch manufacturer Pal-V appears to be the frontrunner for introducing a flying car, with its model designed by Robert Dingemanse.

At 4 metres in length, the car is actually more of a gyrocopter, which can travel along a road on three wheels and is capable of carrying passengers in the air at speeds of 160kph, up to 500km at a time.

Self-described as “one of the safest flying machines on the planet”, the Pal-V Liberty will set a person back between €299,000 and €499,000, depending on what extras you get with it.

It also claims that the first orders will be delivered as early as next year, once it gets all the clearance it needs from authority.

Not the only flying car start-up

But perhaps the more intriguing – and expensive – of the two is the Slovakian-built AeroMobil.

Back in 2015, the company made headlines after its third iteration of a true flying car crashed during a test flight. Its developers now say it has revamped the design to make it airworthy.

Stretching to 6 metres, the flying car has a wingspan of 9 metres when fully deployed and, with two passengers on board, it can travel at speeds of 260kph, for up to 750km.

Compared with the Pal-V-Liberty, however, it is significantly more expensive, costing between €1.2m and €1.5m.

It will also take a bit longer for the first deliveries, but the company still plans to have them out to customers by 2020.

These two start-ups are not the only ones developing flying cars though, as German start-up Lilium Aviation revealed towards the end of last year that it had received €10m in funding to develop its own machine.

Meanwhile, Uber has even hired a former NASA engineer to get its own flying car idea ‘off the ground’.

AeroMobil on display at 2016 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) event. Image: WIPO/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic