Up to this point, we’ve yet to experience the futuristic, flying-car filled society that shows like The Jetsons had promised. Still, AeroMobil out of Slovakia is convinced that it will be the first company to take to the skies with its latest prototype, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past week.
The 4.0 aircraft is a heavily updated version of the original 1.0 prototype that was first presented back in 1990. The latest in the prototype series was first unveiled in April, and reportedly comes with "hundreds of improvements" over the 3.0 concept that made its debut in 2014.
Though completely new, the 4.0 shares a number of similarities with the many prototypes before it. Its exterior design surrounds a new monocoque chassis – similar to something you might find on a McLaren supercar – and features pyrotechnic seatbelt technology (whatever that means) in conjunction with dual-stage airbags. It’s even said to come with an emergency parachute.
Gallery: AeroMobil 4.0
Power comes courtesy of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with power sent to the front wheels via an electric drive system. The advanced drive system incorporates an electronic differential and an adaptive transmission, as well as a fully autonomous digital electronic control unit, or FADEC for short. Considering the outgoing 3.0 version produced 100 horsepower (74 kilowatts), we expect the new model to be somewhere in the same neighborhood.
The company says that it expects to begin taking orders as early as this year, with deliveries expected by 2020… pending no major setbacks. The AeroMobil 4.0 doesn’t have a price as of yet, but rumors suggest that it could cost as much as $1.5 million if and when it does debut.
The company will showcase the latest AeroMobil flying car which is purposefully designed as a breath-taking, high-technology luxury vehicle. The model integrates the best of automotive and aerospace innovation. It applies automotive safety standards and lighter weight aerodynamics from aviation to give owners true freedom of movement in the air and on the road while remaining efficient. The team will be ready to take pre-orders at the show. The vehicle is expected to go into full production in the coming year with the first deliveries being made to customers by 2020.
“Designing and delivering our first production-ready flying car is our priority, but as interest in the sector grows opportunities will extend into new areas,” said Juraj Vaculik, CEO, AeroMobil. “We see big opportunities for AeroMobil to take the lead in designing flying cars for MaaS and personal air transport. We are really looking forward to discussing our plans with the automotive industry and investors at IAA.”
The AeroMobil flying car has already filed 14 patents for innovations in safety and engineering, which will help to make this a unique and comfortable travel experience for owners. The exterior is highly aerodynamic utilising the latest carbon composite construction found in the most sophisticated sports cars and performance aircraft. The vehicle’s interior is designed to surround the pilot or driver in a high strength monocoque structure that provides unprecedented levels of safety. While travelling on the road the occupant restraint system uses pyrotechnic seatbelt technology in conjunction with dual-stage airbags. During flight the flying car features a whole vehicle parachute for additional safety. The AeroMobil has a custom 2.0 turbo charged 4-cylinder boxer internal combustion engine with a FADEC (fully autonomous digital electronic control) digital control unit. On the road, the AeroMobil is powered by a dedicated electric front wheel drive system incorporating electronic differential and an adaptive transmission delivering both road-going functionality and direct drive during flight. Combined with the vehicle’s lightweight design this helps to ensure greater endurance on the road and in the air.
“AeroMobil is a true feat of engineering and design, requiring all our creativity, passion and technical expertise to deliver a ground-breaking product,” added Douglas MacAndrew, CTO, AeroMobil. “Integrating flight and car travel is not simple, but having condensed approximately 60 man-years of research and development into three the AeroMobil flying car is designed to meet the current legislative requirements. At IAA we will be able to show how to bring a flying car to market in the very near future working within today’s regulatory and transport infrastructure.”
Mobility is developing in many directions and it will be underpinned by ever more sophisticated digital technologies. AeroMobil sees this as a significant opportunity in the flying car sector to use intelligent connectivity and digitisation to make travel safer and more efficient. This is especially relevant to growing discussions around MaaS, designing intelligent systems that understand and can respond to different automotive and aviation data in a coherent way. AeroMobil’s highly experienced engineering team, and specialist advisors such as recent additions Martin Hauge and Jonathan Carrier, are currently planning future designs for a series of models in different price categories for MaaS and personal air transport.
VDA-President Matthias Wissmann said: "We are looking forward to the IAA full of enthusiastic anticipation. At exactly the right time it will bring together all the players who shape the mobility of the future. The preparations for the 67th IAA Cars are running at full speed. The main focus will be on digitization. The cars of the future will be connected and automated. The slogan of this IAA, “Future now,” ties in with this. The IAA will be opened on September 14 by Chancellor Angela Merkel.”