Flying car set for 2020 commercial release
A flying car that has been in development for 15 years is finally set to come to market in 2020 according to the Israeli tech firm that created the vehicle.
Dubbed The Cormorant, the 1,500kg passenger-carrying drone is capable of transporting 500kg of weight and travelling at 185km/h.
It completed its first automated solo flight over terrain in November and its total price is estimated at $14m (£11m) currently.
Developer Urban Aeronautics also believes the dark green drone, which uses internal rotors rather than helicopter propellers, could evacuate people from hostile environments and/or allow military forces safe access.
“Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substance or something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area,” said Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli.
Yoeli set up the company, based in a large hanger in Yavne, central Israel, in 2001 to create the drone, which he says is safer than a helicopter as it can fly in between buildings and below power lines without the risk of blade strikes.
But there is still plenty of work required before the autonomous vehicle hits the market.
The Cormorant, about the size of a family car and previously called the ‘Air Mule’, has yet to meet all Federal Aviation Administration standards and a test in November saw small issues with conflicting data sent by onboard sensors.
With 39 patents registered to create the vehicle, Yoeli has little concern about competitors usurping him.
One industry expert said the technology could save lives.
“It could revolutionise several aspects of warfare, including medical evacuation of soldiers on the battlefield,” said Tal Inbar, head of the UAV research centre at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.
Last month E&T looked at a number of different projects around the world that are racing to release personalised flying vehicles.