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Flying Cars Have Arrived

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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by Neil Banerji
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AMAC Exclusive – By Neil Banerji

cars

Flying cars aren’t just coming soon – they’ve arrived.

Earlier this month, Alef Automotive, a California startup, received FAA approval to begin testing a new prototype flying personal vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing abilities on public roads (and skies).

Translation? Flying cars are now a reality, and the government just made them street legal—under certain conditions.

It might not be too many years before you start seeing Alef’s “model A” soaring over your neighborhood. The company is already taking pre-orders (you can join the list for a mere $300,000) and expects to begin delivery in 2025.

Although ambitious engineers have developed vehicles with driving and flying capabilities for decades, they have always been curiosities rather than commercially viable products. Now, Alef and other companies like it hope to make flying cars widely available.

A host of startups and aviation giants alike are hoping to cash in on this exciting new development in the skies. The burgeoning ”electric vertical takeoff and landing” (eVTOL) market has witnessed a surge in demand from investors and prospective buyers alike, with some analysts predicting its value will skyrocket from $86 million in 2022 to $1.06 billion by 2030. Another study predicts that the market could reach $18 billion by 2030.

While Alef appears to be the leader in flying car technology in the United States, other companies – particularly in Asia – have jumped into the race. China’s state-owned Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC) recently released its own concept of a flying car that can also drive on roads.

In pursuing its own plans for producing flying cars, NIDEC, a Japanese manufacturing company, is entering the U.S. market in conjunction with Brazilian aerospace powerhouse Embraer. Eve Air Mobility, another Brazilian company, has also successfully tested an early prototype of its own flying car.

Partnering with American company Joby Aviation, South Korean telecommunications firm SK Telecom has also advanced the possibility of a future in which eVTOL taxi service could be readily available.

Proponents of eVTOLs say that the technology could reduce congestion, which would both help alleviate pollution problems in urban areas and be a massive time saver for drivers. They would also enable faster point-to-point travel and enhance accessibility to remote locations.

Additionally, a flying fleet of emergency services vehicles would no longer have to contend with traffic, enabling faster response times and swift transportation to hospitals.

However, not everyone is on board with the idea of ordinary drivers taking to the skies. The left-leaning Center for American Progress has worried that flying cars will “turbocharge urban sprawl” and “weaken the social cohesion that comes from shared experiences,” arguing that such developments will undermine “consensus in a democracy.”

On a more practical level, some critics have pointed out that the country is already struggling to keep up with building new infrastructure for electric vehicles, which have exploded in popularity. Making the switch to eVTOLs would undoubtedly prove an even more gargantuan undertaking, requiring everything from designated takeoff and landing zones to an entirely new air traffic management system.

Moreover, while electric vehicles can operate under virtually the same regulatory and safety rules as gas vehicles, eVTOLs would present a whole new host of problems for lawmakers to address.

But concerns aside, the prospect of cruising through the skies on your morning commute will continue to capture the imagination of Americans.

These recent developments mean flying cars may even become an issue in the 2024 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump has specifically highlighted “vertical takeoff and landing vehicles” as part of his effort to create a “Quantum Leap” in the American standard of living.

In a video that emphasized the importance of American companies remaining on the cutting edge, the former president remarked that “Dozens of major companies in the United States and China are racing to develop vertical takeoff and landing vehicles for families and individuals.”

“Just as the United States led the automotive revolution in the last century. I want to ensure that America and not China, leads this revolution in air mobility,” Trump commented.

While flying cars once seemed confined to the daydreams of tech whizzes and science fiction fans, they may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. Much like the development of the original personal car, eVTOLs will affect society in far-reaching and profound ways, some of which we can’t even yet imagine.

Neil Banerji is a proud Las Vegas resident and former student at the University of Oxford. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Winston Churchill and Edmund Burke. 

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Mal
Mal
11 months ago

Like the hazards of texting while driving isn’t enough, now we’ll have to worry about one crashing into your home from above. Then there’s drinking and drugs to worry about.

tlanger
tlanger
11 months ago

One has to assume that they need a pilot’s license. That’ll cost a ton of dollars and hours. This “car” will cost mega bucks. Looks like a toy for the rich and famous. Sure hope their battery doesn’t peter out over my house.

Texas Resister 64
Texas Resister 64
11 months ago

This is one of the dumbest ideas of a truly dumb and corrupt era in the West.

Marc Ziegler
Marc Ziegler
11 months ago

I guess this is another way to cull the population, both in the air and on the ground if that is your intent. Knowing how incompetent most people are when driving cars in a two-dimensional world, now add the third-dimensional of altitude and total mayhem would ensue. As a flight instructor for many years, I know that teaching someone to fly a plane is the easy part, instilling commonsense, at times, was the hard part. Flying can be very unforgiving, and deadly if approached in the wrong way and the old saying that there are no old bold pilots is a truthful statement. It is obvious to me that the FAA would have to control this activity and require existing pilots to get an additional category certification for a flying car, and also require operation only in non-controlled airspace. It would add another layer of craziness if any car at any time could enter controlled airspace at will. Another thing that might limit the flying car is insurance. I don’t know of any insurance company, at this time, is willing to insure a flying car. This will have to be worked out before any flying car leaves the ground for personal use.

JamesP.
JamesP.
11 months ago

Dumb idea..just like EV cars.

Ollie
Ollie
11 months ago

I can see it now, crashing into each other while talking on their cell phones.

Festus
Festus
11 months ago

Are they electric??

Nitecat
Nitecat
11 months ago

Republicans running in local and state elections should run in part on banning these dangerous and noise polluting monstrosities from flying in the skies of their states. Victory !!

James DeBona
James DeBona
11 months ago

Okay! It may be capable of flying but where are the streets that will be able to accommodate this contraption? If all its meant to do is travel on open country roads, then why bother at all?!

Pat Jandacek
Pat Jandacek
11 months ago

I know there is constant change in this world; but there certainly are enough vehicle deaths occurring daily already. Surely, I pray, before any new type vehicle such as the eVTOL could be accepted for use on a public road, there would be a whole new mission to adequately educate ALL drivers of what could now be driving before or behind you. Be made aware that all of a sudden the vehicle in front of you may be operating above you or another nearby above awaiting an approach to the highway immediately in front of you while you’re traveling. Do they know how to approach the well-traveled road? Would you know what to expect? Until we have enough experience, that would be a shock! This education should include what could well be known the greatest risks and how they might be alleviated. But if an eVTOL is being driven by a “God only knows” new driver not practiced in this new ability to become a helicopter, the attempt to be lifted to the height expected might just not quite work as expected….or an unexpected blow of wind, or he belatedly noted coming to lines across the highway that will entangle the eVTOL. In my judgment, I wouldn’t expect “him” to be level-headed enough to properly react….I wouldn’t be either. I realize that “extreme” experiences can make some clear-headed, but I wouldn’t expect that to be majority. Pray there’s also no-one behind your vehicle because I would imagine there’s going to be panic in all 3 drivers, at the very least.

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens
11 months ago

Lots of interesting comments. My initial thought centers around my rights and my personal property. Someone driving a car can be excluded from entering my private property ( I can simply close a gate) A commercial enterprise that charges customers for flying a plane over my property has that right. NOW you see where I’m going with this line of thought. It’s MY airspace!

John
John
11 months ago

OK now, take the current passel of drivers on the road and place them 500-100 ft above your head and follow my instructions as follows: 1) Stand uprighjt, 2) assume the angle (bend over forward), 3) Place you head between your legs and 4) Kiss your bootie goodbye!

Bruce
Bruce
11 months ago

eVTOL. One short or loose wire and you’re a brick. Why does it have to be electric?

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
11 months ago

Love 2 RENT 1 if produced en masse & need No pilots lisc
VSTOL best bet
See movie Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049

Niel bernarji
Niel bernarji
11 months ago

I’m Neil banerji. At oxford they said I was the worst student they ever had and if I ever drove a flying car it would be the shortest flight since the Hindenburg. And I would lie about the whole thing.

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