Flying Cars May Be Coming, Just Not For Civilians
The flying car is that elusive dream that we continue to chase. The concept once seemed a breakthrough away during the 1950s. But as the decades wore on, the public became more and more jaded about the notion. Occasionally, a promising announcement would get our hopes up, but our skeptical eyes cut right through it. Most of us have given up on the idea altogether. But if one report is to be believed, the flying car is almost here– it’s just not for the public. Scientific American reports that two “transformer”-type vehicles in development, for government use. Lockheed Martin and the much smaller Advanced Tactics are each working on potential designs, both with government DARPA backing. RELATED: See Another Flying Car - The Terrafugia Transition
Lockheed Martin’s take on the flying vehicle is called Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES), and is not necessarily the “flying car” part. Rather it is an unmanned vertical take off and landing (VTOL) platform that can pick up various types of payload. That includes the option for a dune buggy, which could carry ARES while traveling on the ground.
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Meanwhile, Advanced Tactics is working on a more permanent solution. The Black Knight Transformer prototype looks something like a Mars Rover-turned-school bus, with eight helicopter rotors mounted to movable struts on either side. The struts can extend outward when the rotors are engaged for flight, or tuck away when the off-road truck-style powertrain is underway.
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The Black Knight is capable of 70 mph on the ground and 150 mpg in the air. Advanced Tactics conducted road tests late last year, and aerial tests are scheduled for this year. Lockheed’s ARES is slated for a mid-2015 debut. Only time will tell if these projects pan out. They might start as military projects, but one day these concepts could make their way into your driveway.