What once seemed like something straight out of the realm of fantasy and science fiction is suddenly a functional possibility. Flying cars. The very concept probably raises more eyebrows than warranted but now the concept is inching ever toward reality. Just a week ago a company by the name of Lilium showed off their newest flying car, a white pod shaped vehicle with doors that lift straight up. This prototype may be the key to the flying car revolution that has been brewing just underneath our noses and just out of sight.
Like something straight out of ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’, the Lilium pod vehicle looks like it belongs in the future in a galaxy far far away. But it isn’t. Instead it is being developed for usage by private individuals all around the world. The company recently secured $90 million from an investment firm and now they are moving forward with more ambition than ever. One of the primary investors in the work of Lilium is a company named Tencent, an investor from China. Tencent’s spokesman said, “We’re trying to move from a niche transport vehicle to a mass-transport one.” The spokesman went on to cite the congestion in big cities as a major reason for this effort.
As far as specs go the Lilium flying car is as impressive as you can expect. The vehicle tops out at 186 MPH and runs on electric power. Lilium envisions a future where there are various landing pads in big cities around the world that will work to network a taxi-like service for Lilium. Lilium’s development process has been sound and financially viable so it just remains to be seen if the public will catch on and if the infrastructure for their goals can follow suit. No matter what happens, however, they aren’t alone.
Terrafugia is another company that has been working on what they call a ‘roadable’ style aircraft. Terrafugia began development back in 2006 and it has seen several generational developments since then. Right now the Terrafugia can hit 100MPH at top speed and has a range of 400 miles while running on unleaded fuel. The Terrafugia can only be operated by those with a pilot license but the style of license needed can be reportedly be had in just 20 hours.
Flying cars still have a long way to go before they become commonplace, but each day brings them closer to reality.