— AFP news agency (@AFP) 28 juni 2017
Doc Brown’s famous line “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” could become a reality. At this year’s Paris Air Show, the AeroMobil was presented. It’s designed by the Slovaks, it’s a hybrid, it’s awesome, and it is scheduled to go into production by 2020.
“After you’ve landed at an airport, you transform the plane into a car and take the road to wherever you want,” Simon Bendrey, AeroMobil’s deputy head of engineering, told AFP. And they have already received a number of orders, he added, despite an asking price of €1.2-€1.5 million.
Until recently, flying cars “were a cross between a bad car and a bad plane,” said Bruno Sainjon, head of the French aerospace lab ONERA, on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, but there has been a quantum leap in design. However, it will not be for everybody, and not everybody can be expected to pilot a vehicle like the AeroMobil. The real future, continued Sainjon, is “a system of on-demand air transport, which would clearly be the start of a new era for aviation,” like a flying taxi service, in other words.
Pascal Pincemin, an aerospace specialist with Deloitte, agreed with Sainjon: “because it’s too risky.” He envisaged digital platforms to manage the new form of traffic, and that appears to be what Uber, the App-based ride-hailing service, has in mind with its “Elevate“ project.
Other companies from The Netherlands, The Czech Republic and France are also in the race for the flying car, but still, we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much. Air transport today has a death rate of 0.2 per million flights, said Patrick Cipriani, director of security at the DGAC, France’s civil aviation directorate. “Will we be prepared to accept levels like those of light aircraft, which is 100 times less safe?” he asked.
Still, it won’t hurt to dream that one day we’re not going to need roads.