Israel-based company Urban Aeronautics will introduce its flying car to the market by 2020, after 15 years of research & development. The flying car, called the Cormorant, flies up to 115 mph and can transport about 1100 lbs.
Unlike the helicopter, the Cormorant uses internal rotors—as opposed to propellers—and is set to cost $14 million. The prototype of the passenger drone completed its first autonomous flight on November 3, 2016, which included low flight over uneven terrain.
“While pattern flights are routine for conventional fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft, it is a significant milestone in the evolution of an entirely new family of Urban’s proprietary technology aircraft known as Fancraft™,” the company said in an official statement. “Unlike other (manned and unmanned) aircraft, the Cormorant’s autopilot relies primarily on inertial and ground reference, which is more complex than flying through open, unobstructed airspace. ”
“This industry-first event begins to demonstrate the Cormorant’s capability to operate close to the ground and inside obstructed terrain, in environments previously inaccessible to existing aircraft (having similar payload),” the statement added.
So in what situation will this flying car be used? “Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substance of something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area,” Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli told Reuters, adding that the drone is safer than a helicopter because it can travel safely between buildings and below power lines without worry of striking the blades.