To the Motor-Copter

Is it a car? Is it a plane? It’s both.

At the risk of being brutally honest, it’s difficult to see exactly why society needs flying cars. Or self-driving ones, for that matter. That being said, certain inventions in the age of technology are just too, um, inventive, to ignore. Here’s another prototype that fits that description—straight out of a comic book—as the inventors of a real-life jetpack are now working on their proverbial Batmobile.

Creators of a human jetpack, JetPack Aviation‘s David Mayman and Nelson Tyler are working on putting flying cars on the market. The idea is to create a “three-dimensional commuting revolution,” a transportation grid that moves more smoothly due to using multiple spatial planes instead of just a few. Technology like this is also supposedly greener. The new flying car looks like a helicopter with multiple motors in current renderings, and is titled Jetpack Aviation’s VTOL multirotor project.

“Our concept is that on the end of each of our six arms, you’ve got a motor on top, and a motor underneath. They spin in opposite directions. It does come with inefficiencies, because the air that’s being pushed from the top one down has already been accelerated. So the pitch angle on the lower blades has to be different. But it leads to a much smaller form factor. You can see how instead of having to find real estate for 12 rotors all mounted so the props don’t hit each other, this way we can use half the space.”—David Mayman

Mayman said in an interview with Loz Blain of New Atlas that his company’s model only includes one seat at the moment, but he referenced the utility of new-age electric motors in adding flexibility to the design. He says that distributed electric propulsion is “very scalable,” indicating that he will easily add additional power to the motors to accommodate more cargo and area. The ultimate limiting factor comes from battery storage density, a market that is increasingly growing and sees large companies like Tesla investing millions in research and development. So whether you’re a fan or not, you might really be seeing flying cars in the next 20 years, especially if you reside in a city.

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