The Air Mule is Coming

Flying cars have long been a facet of a science fiction vision of the future. From George Jetson making his morning rounds, to Leeloo crash landing on Korben Dallas's cab, the future of transport has always been among the clouds. Back here in reality, driverless vehicles seem to be taking over as the next step in the evolution of personal transportation. Even so, some just aren't ready to give up on the dream of taking flight in the family vehicle.

Urban Aeronautics is a company out of Israel that is currently working on a passenger drone able to carry 500kg (1,102 lbs) at speeds up to 185 km/h (115 mph). The vehicle is called the Cormorant, formally the "Air Mule," and is generally being looked at as a military vehicle. It uses internal rotors, as opposed to helicopter-like blades, making it easier to maneuver in an urban setting.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Moving on Up

This "flying car" still has some work to do before it is ready to join the ranks. The prototype does not yet comply with all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. Also, during a test flight back in November, there were inconsistencies in the data provided by onboard sensors.

"It could revolutionize several aspects of warfare, including medical evacuation of soldiers on the battlefield," says Tal Inbar, head of the UAV research center at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.

Flying cars are also being explored by other companies. Lilium Aviation has developed a prototype for a vehicle that can take off vertically using a set of large electric fans which then tilt to propel the vehicle forward at speeds from 250 to 300 km/h (160 to 190 mph).

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