Asia Minute: Flying Cars in Singapore?

Apr 26, 2019

Marina Bay, Singapore | 2015
Credit Zairon / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Flying cars have been part of science fiction stories for many years, but developers are coming closer to produce a flying vehicle. And a company based in Singapore says they could be in the skies over California as soon as next year.

The “personal aerial vehicle” is on the horizon, and coming closer.

It’s sort of like a giant drone — think of a small helicopter passenger compartment with four large circular blades underneath.

A Singapore company called “Neo Aeronautics” said this week it plans to launch a single-seat model in California next year. It’s currently undergoing indoor test flights in Singapore, and Neo wants to launch it in 25 U.S. cities within six years.

The Federal Aviation Administration will have something to say about this, of course. The FAA already deals with drones, and most every other mechanical item in the sky.

Neo Aeronautics says its version can carry someone up to 220 pounds at a height of fifty feet for what it calls “low-level urban aerial mobility” — and what most people would call flying low over cities.

Other companies are racing to produce similar models. A German firm called Volocopter wants to test small “air taxis” in Singapore later this year. Boeing says it’s tested a flying car, Toyota is researching, Google is on the case.

Back in 2016, a Chinese drone maker named Ehang presented what it called the world’s first “passenger drone” at the Consumer Electronics Show . . . and the company is still working on another version.