Flying car: is it now the future or is it the present?

In a decent vision of the eighties and nineties, the future of which is the theme, the flying car is sure to show up. The creators of Back to the Future 2, for example, had already predicted this by 2015, although Bob Gale later admitted, knowing – or at least guessing – that this was not the reality. We’re already writing 2018, and the sky is still not full of cars flying over us, but more and more people are trying this genre. There are traditional carmakers among them, and there are startups dedicated to this purpose.

Audi belongs to the former group: they created the Pop.Up Next study, the successor to Pop.Up presented last year, with the help of the recently fully immersed Italian design studio, Italdesign, and Airbus, which travels in aircraft. It is essentially a modular vehicle with passengers sitting in a cabin. This cabin can be connected to either a car-like base or a drone, so it can be used on the road and in the air.

Of course, car-likeness is to be understood compared to a Renault Twizy, say, but the wheel-mounted module itself has features that evoke today’s Audi. The fully electric vehicle is capable of automatic and autonomous transport, and communication between man and machine is based on speech and facial recognition as well as touch. There was a huge 49-inch screen in the cabin.

The Audi-Italdesign-Airbus car study is still very far from series production, but there is something else here in Geneva that is much closer. The name Pal-V is hardly known to those who approach the subject from an ordinary driving point of view, even though their aircraft, named Liberty, is now mature as standard – although it can be called an autogyro (rotary, propeller-driven aircraft) rather than a real flying car. When viewed up close, its shape is quite clumsy, at most the headlights of the new Swift resemble a car.

The interior also seems to be a hybrid solution, because although it has a normal handlebars and quite pleasant leather, its instrumentation and controls are more reminiscent of an airplane, it definitely requires the average car driver to get used to it. The Pal-V Liberty is powered by two engines: a 100-horsepower car that accelerates to a hundred in nine seconds and a top speed of 160 km / h. The Dutch manufacturer gives an average consumption of 7.6 liters per hundred kilometers, which is say not too little to move a 664 kilogram mower. In this mode, they promise a wide range of 1,300 kilometers anyway.

In the air, with a 200-horsepower engine, they talk about a consumption of 26 liters per hour, the speed of 140 kilometers per hour is still comfortable, the maximum range of 500 kilometers is noticeably reduced at 160, but it can reach up to 180 km / h. In the event of a technical fault, it can be landed without an engine, stopping in just thirty meters. You need 330 meters anyway to take off. You can switch between road and flight mode in 5-10 minutes.

The Dutch say the vehicle is ready for series production, but they still have a seemingly difficult task ahead of them. They have to go through a serious licensing process, at the end of which they hope to approve Liberty for both road and air. The Pal-V flying car already has a price: the full-length Pioneer Edition is valued at € 500,000, while the more wooden bench is worth € 300,000.

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