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Monday, February 20, 2017

The flying car has arrived

Interesting article by Bob Pritchard 

The flying car has finally arrived and will be commercially available for commuters in early 2018. Liberty is accepting pre-orders. The vehicle’s three wheels and retractable top-mounted rotor may make the vehicle look more like a gyrocopter than a traditional sedan, but it can drive and fly. Revolutionary machines such as this will naturally prompt questions about regulations surrounding their use. But PAL-V assures consumers that the Liberty was not only designed to overcome technical and qualification challenges, it also complies with existing safety standards, as well as car and aviation regulations.

                                      

Equipped with a pair of engines, one each for ground and air travel. Both engines are supplied by the Austrian aircraft-engine manufacturer Rotax, and produce 100 horsepower, achieve fuel economy of 31 mpg, and accelerate to 62 mph in less than nine seconds on its way to a 100-mph top speed.

Entering the flying mode transforms the Liberty from a 13.1-foot-long and 5.4-foot-tall car into a 20.1-foot-long and 10.5-foot-tall flying machine. In the sky, the Liberty makes 200 horsepower and can reach speeds as high as 112 mph while reaching a maximum operating altitude of 11,480 feet. Those seeking efficiency, though, will want to cruise at a more economical flying speed of 87 mph, which gives the flying machine a maximum range of 310 miles. Add a passenger in the Liberty's second seat, though, and that range drops to 248 miles.  Liberty's operator must have both a driver's and pilot's license to use the vehicle in its two forms.

Those interested in purchasing a Liberty will need to write a nonrefundable deposit check for $25,000 for the Pioneer Edition or $10,000 for the Sport. Alternatively, consumers can drop $2500 ($2000 of which is refundable) to lock in a spot on the Liberty's waiting list.

Flying taxis in Dubai from July

The United Arab Emirates city of Dubai is set to become the world's first to allow passenger-carrying drone taxis, according to an announcement Wednesday. Dubai will have people-carrying drones this US summer.  Guangzhou-based EHang has received an order from Dubai for its 184 model, which can carry one person and a suitcase with a combined weight of 117 kg.  Test flights are currently ongoing across Dubai’s skies.

Passengers simply select their destination, at which point a command center on the ground pilots the aerial vehicles, which have a peak altitude of 3.5 km, a top speed of 160 km/h, and can travel for 50 km (around half an hour) on a single charge.

The Dubai grand strategy will help increase traffic efficiency, productivity, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and save millions of driving hours. In the case of malfunction or connection problems the drones are programmed to immediately land in the closest possible safe area.

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