Off to a flying start – The race to develop and mass-produce the world's first fully functional flying car is beginning to resemble the early days of aviation more than 110 years ago when other contenders, besides the Wright brothers, were battling to get their machines off the ground. Pictured above is the Flying Roadster from Aeromobil unveiled in Vienna last month.
Off to a flying start – The start-up's sporty working prototype looks like a finished production model and has a range of 430 miles (700km) and a top air speed of 124mph (200kph).
Off to a flying start – Co-founder of Aeromobil Juraj Vaculik said the technology to make a flying car for mass consumption is now within the grasp of developers. "The quality of the auto-pilot systems that we were able to install in our prototype, for instance, even five years ago was just an impossible dream," he said.
Off to a flying start – The Krossblade SkyCruiser is still under development, but it is already at the forefront of research and development into different methods of operating flying cars. The team at Krossblade believe that vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) hybrids are the way forward.
Off to a flying start – The flying car would have the ability to take-off from a standstill thanks to its retractable rotors. Once airborne, it would switch to horizontal flight, using two 150 bhp electric motors in the tail to power it through the air at more than 300mph.
Off to a flying start – The Arizona-based team says that while the first full-sized prototype has yet to be built, its experiments with the model SkyProwler prototype show it's only a matter of time before a hybrid 5-seat transformer airplane is available on the market.
Off to a flying start – The designers claim it could fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco in little more than an hour -- faster than any other drivable aircraft currently in development.
Off to a flying start – On the ground, the SkyCruiser's 31-foot (9.5m) wingspan can be stowed, its four rotors retracted and electric motors in the wheels can drive the vehicle along the road at 75mph (112kph). However, with a total length of 8.4m (27.5ft), don't expect to park it on any city block with ease.
Off to a flying start – Aeromobil says the European Union's MyCopter project -- which is investigating the regulatory and logistical problems with mass air traffic -- has been invaluable for the nascent flying car industry.
Off to a flying start – An artist's impression of the cockpit of the MyCopter project. Research institutes have spent years designing a cockpit that resembles a car and that anyone can pilot with a minimum of training.
Off to a flying start – Another of the flying cars already in production. The Dutch-designed Pal-V can carry two people at 180kph and has a range of 350-500km.
Off to a flying start – In terms of road performance, the Pal-V can reach a maximum speed of 180 km/h (112mph) has a fuel economy of 28mpg and a range of 750 miles.
Off to a flying start – The gyrocopter cruises below 4,000ft and needs 540 feet of runway for take-off and 100 feet to land. The MyCopter project, meanwhile, is looking at a design that can lift itself out of traffic with very little headway.
Off to a flying start – Terrafugia's TF-X is designed as a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric flying car that's capable of performing fly-by-wire vertical take offs and landings.
Off to a flying start – Since 2009, the company has been flying prototypes of Transition, a two-place, fixed wing, street legal airplane.
Off to a flying start – Its earlier model, the Transition, runs on premium unleaded automotive gasoline and can fly with a cruise speed of 100 miles per hour. So far, the company says it has received more than 100 orders for the vehicle.