Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. have recently purchased Boston based company Terrafugia, with the aim to meet their target of selling flying cars by 2019. Heavy investment in flying car technology has come from both governments and private companies in the last few years – from Nasa and Uber in America to the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai. While Google and Apple bring infotainment to road cars, others are looking to give rise to mass market flying vehicles. Here’s how the tech has evolved to make flying cars a real possibility within a couple of years.
New Lightweight Materials
Ever since the first cars and planes were invented, there has been an interest in genuine flying cars, which can be driven both on roads and in the sky by an average driver with a regular driving license. However, this has failed to materialize.
The reason it may be possible now is due to advancements in lightweight materials. The flying taxis operating in Dubai are made from carbon fiber epoxy composite. With a density of just 1.6g per cubic centimeter, carbon fiber is ultra lightweight, while epoxy binds it together, keeping it strong and passengers safe.
Since Jeff Dahn teamed up with Elon Musk in 2015, car battery life has improved substantially with advancements in the lithium ion battery. The Tesla team are teasing breakthroughs in energy density and lifespan, while simultaneously bringing down costs. These improved batteries can be placed into flying cars, to provide enough power for long enough to take passengers to their destination.
Driverless cars are well on their way to becoming a reality for the ordinary person. Google’s Waymo has passed several milestones, by being able to effectively navigate obstacles. Industry entrepreneur Bill Busbice Jr. notes how Uber’s new CEO has the ambition and drive to take Uber to new levels of success, as exemplified by their fleet of self driving Ford Fusions. This driving technology, combined with the recent mass production of drones will form the basis of up and coming flying cars. By creating self driving flying personal cars, humans do not have to be trained in operating flying vehicles, so there is no risk of safety problems due to distraction or human error.
With global traffic becoming increasingly worse, flying cars offer the opportunity to overcome these problems and reduce journey times. The technology is now in place, so it is only a matter of time until wealthy investors are able to bring flying cars to the mass market.