London: Flying cars may soon leap from the world of science fiction into reality, if automobile engineers are to be believed.
A team at Moller International is designing a flying car, called Autovolantor, based on a £200,000 Ferrari 599 GTB model, which it claims would be in the market in just two years’ time.
According to them, the vehicle will have the ability to take off vertically and hover, thanks to its eight powerful thrusters which direct air down for take off. Vents then tilt so the car can fly forward.
The flying car is expected to be able to do 100 mph on the ground and 150 mph in the air. The calculated airborne range is 75 miles and ground range is 150 miles.
Chief Designer Bruce Calkins said that the flying car “features a specially designed hybrid fuel and electric system to power the thrusters, creating as much as 800 horse power”, and it would be able to fly at altitudes of up to 5,000 ft.
“The Autovolantor is powered by eight fans mounted in the fuselage of the vehicle. On the ground these fans push the vehicle around with a firm but not-too-powerful thrust of deflected air. Small vanes in the exit area of the ducts can direct the air forward or back, or remain in the neutral position for vertical take off and landing.
“Once in the air the vehicle manoeuvres like a helicopter, tilting nose down to move forward, rolling right or left for changes in direction. While maximum altitude could be much higher, the energy to obtain altitudes above 5,000 ft would be significant and so we expect it to stay below that height,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Calkins as saying.
The company, Moller International, chose the Ferrari to be the model for the ground-breaking machine because of its distinctive shape.
“The Ferrari 599 GTB has the general shape and layout we were looking for. Using it allowed us to quickly modify a readily available scale model and run some wind tunnel tests to establish the technical feasibility of the project.
“At first we were very sceptical that we could adapt a ground-vehicle with our technologies and make it work. But the model allowed us to quickly verify that it could in fact be done,” Calkins, also Moller’s General Manager, said.
The car is estimated to cost £500,000.