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Flying cars : Is it really for 2023?

Flying cars : Is it really for 2023?

Yes, we will live in a world where it will be usual to move in a flying car. It remains only to determine: when and how? This is what Francois Chopard, founder of Starburst Aerospace start-up accelerator, Alexander Zosel, co-founder of Volocopter, and Mathias Thomsen, head of urban mobility at Airbus, assures. 

The three experts were invited to a conference on the subject this week at the Lisbon Web Summit. "In our congested cities, we think this arrival is irresistible. The demand is there, everything is now played on the supply, "says Mathias Thomsen, whose company is working on two projects flying gear. Further, Alexander Zosel adds "With flying cars, we no longer kill nature, we do not need to build roads or tunnels anymore, we do not need tires, and it's less noisy: the public will see these advantages". 

What will the flying cars look like?

Epinal image of sci-fi movies, the flying car inspires many independent companies and aeronautical groups: Zee Aero (whose founder of Google Larry Page is a shareholder), Terrafugia, Uber, Hoversurf, Aeromobil, PAL-V, Toyota, DeLorean Aerospace, Ehang, Airbus, Volocopter. The different prototypes range from classic winged cars to sophisticated drones with multiple engines.  "There are dozens and dozens of projects," confirms Francois Chopard. "But what emerges today is a model that is a mix between that of Volocopter (machine with 18 electric motors) and a model with wings," he says. 

According to him, the Volocopter has two drawbacks: its large number of propellers, too large, and the lack of wings, which reduces the autonomy of the aircraft. "In case of a glitch, we must be able to wait a little bit in the air, says the investor. In addition, the wings can go faster and save fuel. The expert also believes that the flying car of the future can take off vertically, a feature that makes it more suitable for cities.

Taxis, premium version

The three experts agree on one point: individuals will not have a flying car in their garage, at least initially. "We already see it with classic cars, fewer and fewer people have," says Francois Chopard. "In addition, these vehicles will be relatively expensive and will require recharging in specific locations."

Airbus expects a use like that of taxis, premium version. "People will use it to go faster from point A to point B, to go to the airport or to an important meeting. They will be willing to pay twice as much if the journey is twice as fast, “predicts Mathias Thomsen.

A Volocopter, we bet on regular lines in "open space" that is to say outside cities. "We can also make trips on demand, for those who want to go on a weekend trip." 

A flying car equipped with propeller to move

If we expect to land a flying car that would move through a gravitational field, our technology is not there yet: it is therefore equipped with propellers that this car will fly. According to Direct matin, it is the American company Terrafugia which is currently working on the project, which will take a few years to actually materialize, but which should be marketable by the year 2023. Called Terrafugia TF-X, this flying car takes off and lands in the same way as a helicopter can do.

The power of this machine would be phenomenal, about 1360 horses, relayed by two electric motors for propellers and a motor block of 300 horses. Despite a very specific grip, the creator says that handling correctly and safely this flying car would not take more than 5 hours. With autonomy of 800 km, the Terrafugia TF-X will take off only if the pre-established flight plan by the driver corresponds to the energy still present in its batteries. The flying car can also go into autopilot if the heart tells the pilot. For the moment, we do not know the price at which this incredible vehicle will be sold, but we are pretty sure that everyone will not be able to afford it.