Flying cars are about to hit the market, but it still seems unlikely for them to become the norm in the future of transport. The Personal Air Land Vehicle (PAL-V) Liberty is looking likely to become the first flying car intended for general adoption and real world application — and it could be available soon. While the first model was developed in 2012, the company is aiming to deliver its first car to the first customer by the end of 2018. They hope to produce 50 to 100 models in 2019, and a few hundred by 2020.
According to Futurism’s report, the planned price is €299,000 EUR ($333, 340 USD) for the sport version and €499,000 EUR ($556, 310 USD) for the first edition. Of course, cost isn’t the only consideration: customers will need to acquire both a flying and driving license before using the vehicle, and each car will need to undergo 150 hours of flight testing before being approved.
Futuristic aero-vehicles seem to be the ultimate solution for traffic congestion, but they may well be more dangerous than road cars: should they be involved in an accident, passengers and debris could quite literally end up falling from the sky. The PAL-V has handled the first issue with its gyrocopte, which keeps speed in check and is a key safety feature. Other skeptics point to the fact that flying cars need to produce a lot of downforce to stay in the sky, consequently producing a lot of noise and wind.
At the moment, the PAL-V’s main market competition consists of companies like AeroMobil, and another called Terrfugia. Both use plane-like propulsion systems, as opposed to the Pal-V’s gyrocopter technology, to take off. Aerombil has already started accepting pre-orders for 2020, while Terrafugia is expected to deliver their first Transition in 2019. And while it’s certainly encouraging that there’s interest, we shouldn’t take the acceptance of pre-orders as being interchangeable with government policy or even approval.