Volkswagen aims for the sky: flying cars will plow through Chinese cities

Flying cars are one of man's "forbidden" dreams, but for Volkswagen it may no longer remain so. There have been numerous prototypes and failures such as Molt Taylor's Aerocar and Piasecki's VZ-8 but finally (perhaps) the imagination is giving way to reality. In recent years, this field of engineering research has gained momentum and it was the Volkswagen automaker that said it wanted to broaden its horizons and is currently examining the potential of the personal flying car industry in China.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. Credits: Motor1
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. Credits: Motor1

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Volkswagen China CEO Stephan Woellenstein participated in an interview on LinkedIn on this topic. “After autonomous driving, the next step will be vertical mobility,” said Woellenstein. "To approach the future we are evaluating the technical possibilities of the Chinese market with the aim of starting the production of new vehicles". Woellenstein further stated: “ One of the companies we are in contact with regarding this project has shown themselves willing to fly me to a height of 100 meters , guiding me remotely”. He then added: "You don't have a controller to steer, you have to trust the people who drive for you and hope they don't mess around," concluded the Chinese CEO, rather amused by his experience.

Volskwagen and flying cars

Mark these words: cars and airplanes will combine. You can smile at it, but it will happen “. It was 1940 when Henry Ford, one of the fathers of the automobile, uttered this phrase after showing a prototype of what he himself called the "Model T of the skies", called the Sky Flivver.

More than a flying car, Ford had made a single-seat airplane. It was a small step that failed to catch on due to the pilot's death during the test but which stimulated the imagination of public opinion and the imagination of science fiction writers. Bob Gale and George Lucas with "Back to the Future" and "Star Wars" have caused generations to roll their eyes to imagine cars without wheels able to soar freely in the air.

The DeLorean from "Back to the Future", one of the most famous flying cars. Credits: Film at the cinema
The DeLorean from "Back to the Future", one of the most famous flying cars. Credits: Film at the cinema

Volskwagen is trying to create the flying car market and has presented “Hover car” , a highly hi-tech spherical vehicle. The car will be able to levitate on the road surface, thanks to electromagnetic technology, already seen in high-speed trains. Ride heights can now reach 30-60 cm. Moreover, thanks to special sensors that direct driving by slowing down the speed in case of danger, the flying cars will be able to circulate on the roads of the future in safety, maneuvered by the driver using a common joystick.

After Hyundai , another car manufacturer is preparing to open its doors to the future. Finally we can avoid the annoying and hated holes! But not only that, the “Hover Car” will be respectful towards the environment: the Volkswagen group is thinking of a zero-emission car on the Chinese market.

A (fake) model of Volkswagen's Hover car. Credits: Car from Japan
A (fake) model of Volkswagen's Hover car. Credits: Car from Japan

Why China in particular?

Let's not forget that the Chinese market for Volkswagen is the largest and most prosperous in the world. In addition, it has been the most profitable for the German group so far. As Wöllenstein pointed out, the individual mobility contest will be played in the sky, no longer on the streets. Many car manufacturers are preparing for the right competition: General Motors, Hyundai Motors, Airbus, American groups like Joby and Germany's Lilium and Volocopter, whose backers include Daimler and Intel. The game to conquer the skies has just begun!

But the issues that create problems are many, first of all safety and secondly design. A flying car must be able to support the right weight without being large and heavy: it must be quieter and more manageable than helicopters. In short, competition is upon us and the future in the world of flying cars is getting closer and closer. What can we do in the meantime? Roll your eyes and wait!

Article by Alessia de Musso

The Volkswagen article points to the sky: flying cars will plow through Chinese cities comes from Tech CuE .