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You Could Be Piloting a Flying Car by 2017

At SXSW 2015, a plan to curb inneficiency by way of a futuristic milestone.

Image courtesy of AeroMobil

This weekend at SXSW 2015, Slovakia-based developers AeroMobil announced their plans for a technology we’ve all been waiting on since The Jetsons. Flying cars, a long-time collective fantasy and conceptual yardstick for the march of progress, have been a dream, a cultural trope, a joke about how we think about “the future.” But speaking at a panel on the future of airborne automobiles, Juraj Vaculik, CEO of AeroMobil, says that his company’s first commercial model, aimed at “wealthy supercar buyers,” would ideally hit the market within the next two years. That’s right—if you happen to be fabulously wealthy, you could have your own flying car by 2017.

A demonstration video of the car/plane hybrid was filmed this past October at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival, showing the AeroMobil 3.0 (also called the Flying Roadster) both driving on highways with regular cars, as well as taking off into flight from a grassy field. According to Popular Science, the Slovakian team is aiming to “make medium-distance travel much less of a hassle,” defining “medium-distance,” as “trips at around 400 miles.” Travelling such a distance at this point either means a very long car ride or the burden of going through an airport, the latter option taking almost as much time as driving due to heavy security and other hassles. The AeroMobil team believes their flying cars could address this inefficiency, and designed the vehicles to use regular gasoline and take off from any flat, grassy area, making airports, runways, or any special fuels unnecessary.

The Verge reports that Vaculik first imagined designing a flying car in Czechoslovakia 25 years ago, before the country’s breakup, as a way to escape the nation’s oppressive communist regime. “We need another revolution,” said Vaculik at the SXSW panel. “We need a revolution in personal transportation.” While for many, the AeroMobil 3.0 may be a revelation, its price tag might keep it from being any kind of revolution, at least at first. According to The Verge, “Asked about whether this would become nothing more than a ‘hobby for the rich,’ Vaculik expressed hope that the cost of technology always drops—but he also declined to name a specific price beyond that it would be over a ‘couple of hundred thousand Euro.’”

Vaculik also said that if the AeroMobil 3.0 were successful, the company’s next big push would be to develop a self-flying version, combining existing autonomous driving tech with their own futuristic vehicle designs.

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