Robert Dingemanse has heard the comparisons many, many times. The Jetsons, Harry Potter, James Bond.
As CEO of a Dutch company developing a flying car, he's used to curious people whose only frame of reference for his new vehicle comes from cartoons or movies.
But as of this week, Dingemanse's dream of letting commuters (albeit well-heeled ones) choose whether to drive or fly to work
"Flying cars have been in movies many, many times and they will be available next year," Dingemanse said.
The PAL-V Liberty is one of several flying cars in development around the world such as The Transition, a folding wing 2-seater being developed by US-based Terrafugia, and an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet being developed by German startup Lilium.
In the air, the PAL-V is pushed forward by a
"The rotor is not powered," Dingemanse said, "so it's actually a parachute which is always available."
Its makers say the PAL-V will drive at up to 170
Land it and the rotor and propeller fold away, the tail retracts and the PAL-V is ready to drive. Switching from
With a price tag expected to be around ?500,000 ($615,000) for the first production run of 90, the flying cars are not for everybody, but Dingemanse said he has plenty of buyers lined up. They will have to become certified gyroplane pilots to take their PAL-V into the sky and the company is offering training courses too.
Just don't expect this flying car to lift off vertically if it gets caught in a traffic jam. The PAL-V needs a short runway or grass airstrip to take off and land.
With the first production model of the car now ready, the company can begin the final stages of certification with road and aviation authorities in Europe and elsewhere. - AP