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Flying Cars

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Imagine for once in a lifetime, you are given to drive Ron’s flying Ford Anglia from the popular “Harry Potter” franchise. What would you do next? May be set off for a tour across the globe! Wait what, you still cannot believe that you have been offered a flying vehicle! Sounds insane, right?!
Although it may seem that the concept of ‘flying cars’ is just the favorite brainchild of the sci-fi genre,, the engineers and scientists have utilized the advancement of technology to make this so longed reel feature a reality.
The flying car is mainly a concept car (though a few real-life models have been designed, but not yet commercialized). It aims in providing door-to-door transportation by both ground and air.
Recent advances in lithium-ion batteries have opened the door to development in this field. At least 20 companies are currently working on designs, including both major aerospace firms such as Boeing and Airbus well as smaller startups. A Morgan Stanley analysis estimates that the global market for on-demand, short-distance urban air travel could reach $850 billion by 2040.
Back in 1926, Henry Ford experimented to make one single-seat airplane called sky flivver. Though it was not fully a flying car, this marked the beginning in the field of ‘LEVITATING/FLYING CARS’ as Henry Ford famously predicted: “Mark my word: a combination of airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come”.
Airplanes and cars being already there in the market and easily available to the masses, why do we need to spend huge time and money to combine them? Well, the answer lies below!

FAST and SAFE

If we could fly from our office roof (and there is a pad on our roof that is ideally suited to deploying a flying car), the trip would only take 8 minutes. We’d get a double boost, first from flying at an average speed of (say) 100kmh, and second by taking the shortest path, merely 13km.

EASIER ALTERNATIVE TRAVEL

There is a lot more space available for cars when you have three-dimensional access to travel, as long as the navigation challenges are solved. Using the several hundred meters of space above the ground means you can potentially have a lot less traffic congestion. You also don’t need to build and maintain expensive road infrastructure.

TECHNOLOGY IN USE

FANCRAFT TECHNOLOGY: As per ‘METRO SKYWAYS’ they are investing a technology called ‘FANCRAFT’. This technology includes a pair of large drones like rotors that are integrated into the overall form of the vehicle, rather than fixing them over it. It is based on internal combustion.
SAFETY : The authorities who are charged with protecting the public and setting the safety standard for what is truly reliable are FAA and EASA, its European equivalent.
‘Fancraft’ are the only flying cars that have been designed in accordance with FAA certification standards for commercial aircrafts.


TECHNOLOGY USED IN PAL (Personal Air and Land Vehicle)-V LIBERTY:
Inspired by nature, engineered by men and evolved over time, the PAL-V LIBERTY is a ground breaking product that inaugurates the age of the flying car. The PAL-V LIBERTY is a marriage between safety and fun, designed to satisfy the most demanding
customers”.
Based on the gyroplane concept, Liberty incorporates a three – wheel drive configuration assisted by a dynamic curve stabilizer (DCS) technology. The gyroplane configuration enables the flying car to withstand harsh winds. PAL-V
LIBERTY is going to be the first flying car in full production by 2021.



MAGLEV (MAGNETIC LEVITATION)
RENAULT FLOAT, a concept car prototype by Yuanchen Chai follows the technology used in Tesla’s concept hyper loops and the high-speed trains in Japan, the RENAULT FLOAT car uses the concept of Magnetic Levitation.
FEATURES OF RENAULT FLOAT:
Ø The Float has transparent exterior glass and silver bucket seats.
Ø The car can move in any direction without turning around.
Ø The Float has sliding doors making it easy to get in and out.
The Float is designed to work with an app allowing it to function in the same way as car- sharing vehicles such as Uber.

Some of World’s leading e-VTOL manufacturers: -

Airbus Vahana

Vahana is a project worked of the A3 technological development arm of Airbus which has its headquarters in Silicon Valley, CA. Built as an e-VTOL technology demonstrator and proof-of-concept for future aircraft like the City Airbus, Vahana uses variable-angle rotors that provide thrust vertically for takeoff and landing and swivel forward to facilitate accelerated.


Boeing Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV)

The Boeing Passenger Air Vehicle is a venture originally headed by John Langford; whose company, Aurora Flight Sciences, was acquired by Boeing in November of 2017. The Boeing PAV is similar in design to the Kitty Hawk Cora, as it utilizes vertical lift propellers for takeoff and landing and transitions to forward flight using a single pusher propeller. The first flight of the PAV was on January 23rd, 2019.

EHang 216

The EHang 216 is the largest autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) that EHang has designed and manufactured, in a large scale, till date. EHang, a Chinese company with a large wealth of experience in drone manufacturing, mostly specializes in smaller drone technologies.
The 216 has conducted successful flight tests in extreme environments, including a typhoon, and has hosted numerous public demonstration flights. EHang is quite popular in China and is rapidly spreading their global influence, having conducted demonstration flights in Asia, the middle east, Europe, and North America.

Will Cars Fly in the Future?

Flying cars are actually a long-overdue disruption not to cars, but to planes. A lot of big questions still need to be answered before flying cars take to the skies:-safety, infrastructure, and cost. But flying cars advocates say we're on the cusp of a new era in personal transportation.

These energy-saving innovations make cruising a breeze – but they don’t help much with take-off, hovering, or landing, which are still inherently inefficient. So while VTOL flying vehicles are still viable for short intra-city travel and delivery purposes, they will not solve the energy crisis. For 100km journeys, electric flying vehicles could be 35% more efficient than a petrol-powered car – although, assuming the same number of passengers, still less efficient than an electric road car.


However, it’s fair to assume that flying cars will serve primarily as taxi services in pre-defined air corridors, and are therefore likely to consistently carry more people. Taking this into account, for a 100km journey flying car emission could be 6% less than those of electric road cars.

MARKET SURVEY


Although there is at least a decade before flying cars will be commercially available but we can definitely get to see some awesome prototype available in the near future.
One of the biggest problems with the flying vehicles is its high cost. The more comfort and safety features being added, its cost is increasing proportionately. Though it is promising to see the demand for e-VTOLs is rising day by day.





Ideas to boost up the future

Virtual Highway

Virtual Highway is a concept for present and future IT demands that helps to reduce the traffic on roads and avoid the collisions of flying vehicles. It uses various simulators and tools. It is nothing other than the real world illusion of the drivers’
eye that helps them to drive their vehicles properly.
It can help to
• Control traffic
• Reduce collisions
• Provide aerial emergency services
• Monitor several vehicles
• Increase speed of mobile data transmission by 100 times


Solid State Batteries

Solid state batteries use both solid electrolytes and electrodes. They serve to be a potential alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries and a promising approach for the next-gen traction batteries.
They provide
Low flammability
Higher stability
Higher potential cathodes
Higher energy density


UAV Technology

It is a technology by virtue of which a car can fly and drive without a problem. It was implemented in other aerial vehicles and can be used in cars with help of sensors and actuators. It can thus reduce certain problems like
Noob pilot issues
Collision issues

Brain to Vehicle Technology

What if you don’t need to use your hands while driving? B2V tech actually provides you this facility. It can reduce the time for certain actions like taking quick turns, applying brakes, etc. by approximately 0.2 - 0.5 seconds!! If this tech can be introduced in flying cars, it will be a revolutionary achievement.


DEMERITS OF USING FLYING CARS

They will require driver’s as well as pilot’s licenses to drive a car
Adverse environment can cause severe damage to the vehicle
If everyone has one flying machine then it would be difficult to control the air traffic
If there is an emergency in the car, you cannot just escape with minimal injuries. Moreover, if it is an electrical vehicle, minimum emergency can lead to a severe accident.
The overhead cables will pose a problem for these flying vehicles.
Flying vehicle are loud. The noise, dust, wind makes it a headache for your neighbor.
FLYING INSULTS
As we are now talking about the flying cars , it won’t be fair if we do not talk about the criticism this field has faced. Here are some of the memes for the readers that are enough to describe the situation!


CONCLUSION

The ecosystem for aerial transport is vast, with aerospace manufacturers, ride-share companies, and technology startups all playing in this space. While the opportunities are relevant to all participants, the risks appear more pronounced for traditional aerospace companies. Developments in the e-VTOL arena point to impending disruption for helicopter manufacturers, who will likely need to rethink their business models and how they capture value.


CONTRIBUTED BY:

Aritra Das (Powertrain member- Mechanical engineering)

Ritaja Ghosh (Suspension member- Production engineering)

Srinjan Bagchi (Steering member- Mechanical engineering)

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