Being able to call a cab with a couple of clicks of a smartphone is pretty cool and all, but some of you still might be thinking, where's my flying car? After all, various technologists and futurists have been promising that flying cars are just around the corner since at least 1917, and various sci-fi shows and movies have shown all of us the glories of leaving the ground behind.
But while you probably shouldn't be hoping to get the keys to your new flying this year, according to a host of commentators, this long delayed dream might actually become a reality incredibly soon. Consultancy Cassandra is even predicting flying cars might even reach consumers by 2019.
At least 15 startups are vying to bring the first flying car to market.
They aren't the only analysts who are optimistic about the long-postponed arrival of the flying car. "There are already 15 startups working on different concepts of flying cars (including hoverbikes), and more may be in stealth mode or early stage. In addition to this, several heavyweight corporations, such as Airbus and Toyota, are also developing this technology," points out aviation industry expert Valery Komissarov on TechCrunch.
Those truly excited about finally getting their flying car should check out his complete article for a deeper dive into why now might be the time the dream becomes a reality (short answer: maturing technology, drones proving the value of the tech, and interest from big players like Uber and the UAE government, which is conducting flying taxi tests). Though Komissarov warns regulation remains a big hurdle.
For those looking for a more quick and dirty guide to the niche, here are three of the most promising flying car players as selected by Cassandra in order to get you dreaming of soon escaping rush hour commuter hell (hat tip to Small Biz Labs for the pointer).
Uber Elevate. "Uber's head of product recently announced that the company is adding a third city, LA, to its list of places where it hopes to pilot its aerial taxi service by 2020, joining Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai. The on-demand aviation project, Elevate, has the potential to radically improve urban mobility," explains Cassandra.
Terrafugia. "Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the Chinese owner of automaker Volvo, recently announced their acquisition of Terrafugia, a company founded by five award-winning MIT graduates that aims to deliver its first flying car, the Transition, to the market in 2019. The company has already developed and flown two full-scale prototypes."
Toyota. Yup, really. "Toyota has partnered with Cartivator Resource Management to help develop a flying car that it hopes will play a special part in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo."
Would you be first in line for a flying car or are you happy to stick to four wheels for the foreseeable future?