Flying cars are here! Will they become mainstream?


I’m at the Marketing Summit 2014 in Istanbul, where I’m giving the closing keynote later today. It is proving a delightful event, drawing on a framework on GameChangers from conference chairman Peter Fisk to invite inspiring speakers from around the world.

Yesterday Stefan Klein of Aeromobil described his journey to create a flying car. The beautiful video below shows the maiden flight of Aeromobil, just one month ago.

I was able to catch up with after Stefan after his presentation and gain some more insights into the potential of the flying car.

Aeromobil is designed to meet both US and EU Light Sport Aircraft regulations, which will allow it to fly at low levels, with a range potentially exceeding 1,000 kilometers at a high fuel efficiency.

Currently the flying car requires 350 meters to take off, though this may become less than 200 meters with better engines. A grass field is adequate, it doesn’t require tarmac.

Clearly a critical enabler of flying cars is having convenient runways. The reality is that these will be hard to create in a city. Which means that the initial applications for flying cars are more likely to be relatively rural, rather than providing major alternatives to urban commuting.

Because the airplane is also a car, the fields do not necessarily have to be very close together, and a small strip around each town in a rural region would significantly increase mobility.

Flying cars for urban transport would need to have vertical take off and landing, meaning gyro-copters are more likely to be used.

A major issue with a wholesale shift to aerial transportation is that we may start getting aerial congestion rather than just bad traffic, which could have serious implications.

In the future we can envisage that automated systems could manage that traffic efficiently, in a similar way to the way it is done in telecommunications networks, however that is some time off, and the reality is that for a long time there will be severe constraints over aerial traffic, with drones already filling our airspace.

So flying cars are arriving, with reasonable adoption outside urban centers quite possible, however for most of us commuting by flying car is still a long way away.