Last year, Slovakian company AeroMobil stunned the world when they unveiled their version of a flying car, which many aviation experts consider among the most promising of its kind. This week at the South By Southwest 2015 music, film and interactive conference, AeroMobil is making waves yet again. First, AeroMobil announced plans to market their car/plane hybrid sometime in 2017. They also announced long term plans to release a self-flying version in the not too distant future.
The AeroMobil 3.0 features a carbon fiber body with foldable wings that easily accomodates driving either on streets and highways or in the air. In 2014, AeroMobil offered a demonstration video of the vehicle taking off and landing during a 2014 Pioneers Festival in Vienna.
During a panel discussion focused on the future of flying cars, Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil, announced that he and his company are intent on not only releasing their version of a self-driving car that can cover medium distances of around 400 miles sometime in 2017, but also self-flying cars in the near future.
The AeroMobile 3.0, also known as the Roadster, will cut medium distance travel time by almost half. Where conventional aircraft require approximately 6 hours to travel 400 miles, the Roadster will do so in 3.2 hours. According to Popular Science, “When driving, it boasts a range of 545 miles and a top speed of 99 mph. When airborne, it can reach a top speed of 124 mph, with a range of 435 miles.”
And if this isn’t exciting news enough, Vaculik also told conference attendees that provided sales of the Roadster are strong (which will easily exceed a hundred thousand dollars), he hopes to venture into creating an autonomous, self-flying version soon thereafter.
AeroMobil still faces significant challenges
Despite Vaculik’s confidence, a few major obstacles remain, such as raising enough funding for mass production and working with the European Union on writing and finalizing details on how to regulate skies filled with flying cars. Other issues, such as finding the right components that are light enough for extended flight, which Vaculik is confident will be solved within the next two years, and strong enough to “pass stringent governmental crash and safety requirements.” Regardless of all these challenges, Vaculik remains hopeful, “We need to move traffic from a 2D space to a 3D space.”