0246 GMT December 11, 2017
A Slovakian company called AeroMobil unveiled its version of a flying car, a light-framed plane whose wings can fold back, like an insect, and is boosted by a hybrid engine and rear propeller, phys.org reported.
It will be available to preorder as soon as this year but is not for everyone: Besides the big price tag — between €1.2 million and €1.5 million ($1.3 million-$1.6 million) — you'd need a pilot's license to use it in the air.
Philip Mawby, professor of electronic engineering and head of research at the University of Warwick, said, "I think it's going to be a very niche product.
“Several companies are working on flying cars, either like Aeromobil's two-seater that needs a runway, or others that function more like helicopters, lifting off vertically.
“But not many companies are seriously looking at marketing these vehicles anytime soon.
"The technology is there... The question is bringing it to the market at an affordable cost, and making it a useful product.
“Among the big questions is how to control the air traffic if there are hundreds of such vehicles zipping through the air. There is no control except for traditional aircraft.
“So while vehicles like the AeroMobil could be used for recreational purposes by people who have a large piece of land, flying cars are unlikely to become a mass market reality anytime soon.”
The AeroMobil has a driving range of about 100km and a top speed of 99mph. When flying, its maximum cruising range is 750km and it takes about three minutes for the car to transform into a plane.
Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of Aeromobil, at the unveiling in Monaco, said, "You can use it as a regular car. Though it is not legal — yet — to take off from a highway.”
The previous AeroMobil 3.0 prototype made news in 2014 when it was presented in Vienna, but no test-flight took place then. It crashed during a test flight in Slovakia in 2015 with its inventor Stefan Klein on board. He escaped largely unharmed.