Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

Justin Bieber - Flying in Believe Tour

After news of breakthroughs in the development of the hoverboard and the tractor beam, another invention dreamed up in science fiction has come one step closer to reality this week.

A prototype of the world’s most advanced flying car was unveiled at an innovations conference in Vienna on Wednesday.

With its sportscar cockpit and dragonfly wings that fold in behind the cabin, the AeroMobil 3.0 looks like something straight out of the Batcave or Q’s secret laboratory. But its creators Stefan Klein and Juraj Vaculik insist that their innovation is more than just a boy toy.

At Pioneers festival, a two-day entrepreneurship and digital technology conference in the Austrian capital, AeroMobil’s CEO Vaculik said he believed his innovation could “change personal transport on a global scale”. The flying car, he said, could eventually become a regular mode of transport for commuters and middle-distance travellers, especially in countries with underdeveloped road infrastructure.

AeroMobil’s vehicle has been in development for more than 25 years, having first been dreamed up by its chief designer Klein in communist Czechoslovakia. In 2010, Klein teamed up with Vaculik to commercialise the concept. The current prototype successfully conducted its maiden flight last week and has entered a regular flight-testing programme.

With the length of a luxury saloon car, the AeroMobil is designed to fit into regular road structures: it can be parked in regular parking slots and fuelled at normal gas stations.

Whether it will ever fulfil the ultimate promise of the flying car of science fiction remains unclear. While Klein insisted the vehicle does not need a full airport with a big runway to get up into the air, takeoff and landing still require a 50-metre grass strip. When you’re stuck in traffic, even AeroMobil’s flying car won’t be able to help you.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Philip Oltermann in Vienna, for The Guardian on Wednesday 29th October 2014 10.00 Europe/London

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