A US-based company is set to launch a flying vehicle to resolve the traffic congestion issue in megacities such as Dubai.
Florida-based company LuftCar is developing an autonomous vehicle that can be attached and detached from the flying module, equipped with six propellers, and takes off and lands vertically – just like a helicopter (eVTOL), Khaleej Times reported.
The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) have a maximum distance of 300 miles with a top speed of 220 miles per hour at a maximum altitude of 4,000 feet.
At the same time, the car travel 150 miles of road distance.
The company is currently participating in the Dubai Airshow 2021, which began at Al Maktoum International Airport on November 14.
The hydrogen-powered vehicle, which is set for commercialisation in 2023-24, will be priced at $350,000 for the corporate world and high net worth individuals.
“People will actually buy a small car and plane combined; hence they don‘t need to live in a congested city and travel from far-flung places to cities with ease. Businesses can also use this as a shared vehicle to go from city to city and without a need to rent a vehicle. The vehicle will be fully autonomous and [will] have a capacity for five passengers. But there will also be autonomous override options in case of an emergency landing,” said Santh Sathya, founder and CEO of LuftCar.
Citing an example, Saleem Ahmed, president of Mena at LuftCar, said: “If someone wants to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, he can call a pod from an app to a station, attach the car and fly to Abu Dhabi. It is like hailing an Uber or Careem ride. It has vertical take-off and landing and doesn’t need a runway. This air-and-road mobility vehicle will also be available for high net worth individuals. In addition, it has many uses such as air ambulance, emergency and disaster relief, military applications and cargo.”
Last month, Israeli startup AIR unveiled its first “easy-to-operate” eVTOL aircraft that it aims to sell directly to consumers predominantly in the United States starting in 2024.
AIR has been working with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for two years and expects to obtain certification by the end of 2023 for the AIR ONE, a two-seater, 970kg eVTOL, which will have a flight range of 110 miles (177km), Chief Executive Rani Plaut told Reuters.
AIR raised seed funding of under $10 million last year and has been running unmanned tests of its vehicle. It is building prototype models and expects to sell its eVTOLs for around the same price as an expensive car, Plaut said, without providing more precise details.
An increasing number of investors and aviation companies have piled into the hot but yet-to-be-approved urban air mobility space and the number of eVTOL startups has proliferated.