Flying car prototypes have been around for ages, and while inventive, most never lived beyond the concept phase. Slovakia’s AeroMobil appears to be an exception. It’s latest iteration – the AeroMobil 3.0 – debuted in prototype form last year, and, according to company boss Juraj Vaculik, a commercially available version could arrive as early as 2017.
Vaculik discussed the impressive timeline at SXSW this past weekend, but didn’t stop there. In his comments, he also mentioned that an eventual four-seat version could be in the cards, boasting fully autonomous flight capabilities and double the flight range. The risks may be plenty, but the AeroMobil 3.0 has already proven itself a competent flyer.
In its current “roadster” configuration, the AeroMobil features seating for two in its lightweight carbon fiber body, and draws power from a Rotax 912 aircraft engine, which can propel it up to road-going speeds of 100 mph for a maximum range of 540 miles on terra firma. Needing only 650 feet of open runway (grass or paved), the AeroMobil can take flight and stay aloft for a scarcely believable 430 miles.
There are difficulties, however. Vaculik notes that grassy landing strips to the sides of highways could be used to integrate “autobahn” with skyway. Though a simple solution, the infrastructure would still need to be constructed on a wide scale by municipalities. The AeroMobil must also pass all of the EU’s road safety regulations and do it while retaining its necessarily lightweight form. Then there’s the question of raising funds for production budgets, which are expectedly very high when building the world’s first mass-produced flying car.
Regardless, the prospect of going out and buying a flying car in two years time is an exciting one, but you might want to start saving now. The price tag is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.