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Flying Cars Taking Over the Skies?

Tech Is Almost Ready, Regulation Lags Behind

October 9, 2017, Marianna Mäki-Teeri

Flying cars are no longer a distant dream. The race of bringing new vehicles up to the skies is on and over 10 companies are expecting to launch flying cars by 2022. These next generation vehicles have a potential to revolutionise recreational activities, personal transportation and taxi services; other key application areas include law enforcement, security, and aerial critical aid. The sky's the limit for flying cars, but are we ready for the evolution of air civil transportation?

"Flying car” is not the ideal term for describing all types of future generation aircrafts designed to move people from one place to another, but no matter how we wish call this new group of vehicles ranging from roadable aircrafts, gyroplanes, quadcopters to manned drones, it seems that the first ones are soon ready for take-off.

As the study by Frost and Sullivan highlights, this is thanks to advancements in technology during the past decade. For instance, the developments in sensor technologies, propulsion systems and artificial intelligence are helping to overcome the barriers that have made impossible to realise the dream of flying cars before.

The serious commitment of new start-ups, technology giants, and companies from the ride hailing and aviation sectors, like Uber, Google and Airbus, is another important driver according the report. These players have shown high interest in the development of the flying cars and new service models around them.

Many of them have already tested prototypes and some companies have even started pre-sales. All this sounds promising,  but regulation and a traffic management of the lower air space is still non-existent and a critical aspect to address before a safe private and commercial use of flying cars can hit off.  

It’s not an easy task to create new rules and systems for the evolution of air civil transportation, and only few countries have even started the process; US, Europe, Israel and Dubai in the forefront of creating legal frameworks for flying cars. It will probably still take several years before the majority of us will even get an opportunity to see or experience a flying car at first hand.

Before that, you can try other things, like taking an imaginery ride in a self-piloting taxi, which was tested in Dubai to weeks ago, or dream about flying over water with Kitty Hawk Flyer expected to go on sale by the end of this year. If everything goes according Toyota’s plan, we might also see the Olympic Torch lit from their flying car in Tokyo 2020.

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