A lot of companies have demonstrated in recent years concepts and prototypes for flying taxis, though most of the vehicles can best be described as drones big enough to carry a person or two. The most recent was a prototype from Toyota-backed SkyDrive unveiled in early September.
However, when it comes to companies developing a true flying car, one you can drive on the street or pilot through the air, there are few and far between. One brave enough to take on the challenge is Slovakia’s Klein Vision. Its flying car is called the Air Car and the first test flights are now taking place at an airfield near Nitra, Slovakia.
Test flights with a human onboard have only been a few feet off the ground and for very short distances, meaning development is still in the very early stages.
Klein Vision was co-founded by Stefan Klein in 2017. Klein has been attempting to develop a flying car since the late 1980s and was previously linked with fellow Slovakian company Aeromobil, which is working on a similar flying car to the Air Car. Klein left Aeromobil in 2017 to form his own company together with close friend Anton Zajac.
Like the Aeromobil design, the Air Car has a single propeller at the rear and requires a runway, so it has a disadvantage to the drone-style flying taxis which rely on vertical takeoff and landing. It also uses wings which fold in when the vehicle is on the road. According to Klein Vision, the Air Car can fit in a standard parking spot.
Stable flight isn’t the only major challenge for the designers of the Air Car. The other is getting weight down while still meeting safety requirements for a land-based vehicle. The target weight for the Air Car is 800 kilograms (1,763 pounds), or about half the weight of a conventional vehicle.
Klein Vision Air Car
Should the initial two-seat model prove successful, Klein Vision plans to develop additional versions including a four-seater, a twin-engine model, and a model capable of landing on water.
No word on when the Air Car might be on sale.