In a company video showing it flying, it looks like a small helicopter but with four doubled propellers spinning parallel to the ground like other drones.The electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 220 pounds and fly for 23 minutes at sea level. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and even has air conditioning and a reading light. With propellers folded up, it's designed to fit in a single parking spot. After setting a flight plan, passengers only need to give two commands, "take off" and "land," each controlled by a single click on a Microsoft Surface tablet, the company said.This development could be a step towards self-flying cars.


March 16, 2015. AeroMobil, a startup from Slovakia, is already making sci-fi a reality: the company has made a prototype of a flying car. But that's not enough for the company. The next thing it has on its roadmap for the coming decade? A self-flying car. "Maybe 10 years from now, it needs to be automated," said Stefan Vodocz, the company's chief communications officer. "With an algorithm, it would be managed much better by a computer than by man."

Cars are the current fascination of the technology industry. Google is famously hard at work on a self-driving car (an earthbound one) that it wants to take to market in the next five years. Apple is also reportedly developing its own car. Google and Apple also have platforms that bring their mobile operating systems into car dashboards. Meanwhile, Tesla has helped to popularize the electric car. The company wants to eventually commercialize the product, and not just leave it in the realm of academic experiments. But AeroMobil knows it has an uphill battle in overcoming regulations and legislation. (Google, for example, has been working with the Department of Motor Vehicles as it tests its driverless car.)

Self-driving cars have to worry about how to respond to road signs held by workers or to gestures of a police officer managing local traffic. They also have to be able to adapt to changing road conditions and visibility. But autonomous self-flying cars only need to worry about the vast sky, and take-off and landing. Those challenges are relatively straightforward. Autopilot technology and automatic landing systems have been around since the 1970s. Currently regulators are dealing with the massive growth in drones and drone regulations and legislation is being made, limiting the altitude at which they are allowed to operate. Flying cars do not need to take-off and land at existing airports, they can use any suitable runway, but in this case drone collision avoidance systems are needed, especially during take-off and landing outside of regulated airports.

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