A car that ‘flies’


Japanese electronics maker, NEC Corporation has demonstrated a “flying car”. It is quite a large drone-like machine that has four propellers and it hovered steadily for approximately a minute. It was a test flight where the drone reached 3 meters (10 feet). It was kept hovering in huge cage that was a safety precaution, at the NEC facility in a Tokyo suburb. The Japanese government is interested to have people zipping in structures like these by 2030. 

This is an endeavor backed by the government on a set, situated in Fukushima, northeastern Japan. This area was previously devastated by the tsunami, nuclear and earthquake in 2011.  Mie is a prefecture in central Japan that is frequently used as a resort by Hollywood celebrities. This endeavor is also aimed at using such flying cars to connect the numerous islands in the archipelago. 

In a similar stint, a flying car by the Japanese startup Cartivator crashed soon after its ascent  in a 2017 demonstration. NEC is among the 80 sponsor companies for Cartivator’s flying car. Big names also include Toyota Motor Corp. group companies and the video game company Bandai Namco Holdings.

The joint efforts of all these organizations are aimed at delivering a seamless transition from driving to flying after taking care of critical issues like regulatory aspects, safety and battery life.  NEC officials said that their flying car was designed for flying without human efforts. Flying cars are often referred to as EVtol, for “electric vertical takeoff and landing” aircraft. A flying car that is run on electricity or is hybrid electric, driverless, can land and takeoff vertically.

The aim is to build big drones suitable for carrying humans which would be better that helicopters as such drones would be less noisy, can fly without trained pilots, require less maintenance that helicopters and can be used for disaster relief. 

Due to its various advantages, such projects are being taken up across the world- for example, Uber Air of the U.S.