Passenger Drones: A Review of the New Kind of Flying Car
Posted: May 27, 2019
For a long time, we've thought about soaring as high as the birds or at least far above the traffic on the ground. Obviously, the invention of the first successful airplane by the Wright brothers in 1903 at Kitty Hawks was a major step towards overcoming this milestone.
After that, it was not long before the idea of a flying car was first envisioned by the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford. As expected, in 1970, his company tried turning that idea into a reality with the Aero Car project. However, it was a failed attempt as the supposed "flying car" never really took off even though it was certified to fly. Of course, there were other similar designs at the time but it was all for nothing. And it was not because building such vehicles was a mission impossible, but rather because it was still difficult to see the true need for them.
While the innovation was to be welcomed as a breakthrough in automobile technology, it wouldn't be without a certain level of compromise. For instance, the requirements for driving such vehicles would be highly inconvenient and unfavorable to the car owners. Besides obtaining a pilot license (which is as difficult as it sounds), owners would be required to build runways for their vehicles to take off and alight. Hopefully, these issues will not remain relevant for too long.
With the constant progress being recorded in power delivery and autonomous aircraft units, the demand for miniature aircraft drones has been alarming. And right now, the entrepreneurs are looking towards the possibility of scaling up these machines to the point where they can actually accommodate people. On the bigger picture, we are looking at a situation where it is possible to have a flying car that can be parked outside your flat or office just like a normal vehicle, no need for a runway whatsoever. This new kind of flying cars is called the passenger drones and have been the subject of interest for many multinational automotive operators for some time now. And at the 1st FAI International Drones Conference and Expo that was held in Lausanne, Max Polyakov expressed his point of view about the development of modern drone technologies in Ukraine. He emphasized the need for the public to trust and accept the technology in order for it to become part of the traffic above us.
The Terrafugia TF-X is an example of such a machine and is one of the most advanced models that could storm your garage sooner than you expect. The small aircraft was built by a US based company from Massachusetts, Terrafugia, and is best described as a plug-in hybrid. It can be driven on land like an ordinary car and also soar gracefully in the sky like a helicopter. Like most of the advanced models, the TF-X comes with some modern variations which are not consistent with the conventional design we are used too. It is powered by petrol and comes with wings which easily fold up when it touches down. However, instead of wings, many models have extended arms attached with electrically powered rotors for flight.
While the TF-X is yet to make its first real flights, the manufacturers assert that the machine will be able to cover 800 kilometers while carrying 4 passengers on board. The mere fact that it will be able to accomplish this at a graceful speed of 320 kilometers per hour is what is even more amazing. Consequently, the idea sparkled interest from larger firms and just last year, a Chinese multinational automotive manufacturing company, Geely, acquired the company.
While most of her competitors share many features with the TF-X, there are few that don’t accept the idea of a flying car that can also run on the road. The goal is to reduce cost and also save weight. A good example is Volocopter.
Liam Miller, Usa, Florida firstname.lastname@example.org