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Has There Been Any Progress Towards Flying Cars?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
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Inventors have been attempting to develop flying cars since about 1965, but with limited success to date. The closest that anyone has made it yet is Moller International, but its prototypes thus far have not done much more than hover. This is despite an estimated $200 million USD in investment and 40 years of work. However, Moller is accepting deposits for its M400X skycar, which will cost between $500,000 and $1M US Dollars (USD) depending on delivery position. The skycar is expected to go into production around 2009, but several promises to this effect have been made in the past, and the skycar has never gone into production.

Moller has put its M200G "flying saucer" into production, which could cost less than $100,000 USD. However, this is not a flying car per se, as it only hovers about ten feet off the ground. Yet, if it can be used in everyday contexts, it might become quite popular. Like the M400X skycar, the M200G is a VTOL craft (vertical takeoff-and-landing), "capable of flying in a quick, nimble, and agile manner." Dr. Paul Moller, founder of the company, calls these craft "volantors." Prototypes of flying saucers, no larger than a small truck, have been built since the 60s, but studies have usually determined that they're more expensive than they're worth.

Fueled by alcohol and powered by inexpensive Rotapower engines with few moving parts, if the M400X is actually rolled out, it will have the potential to transform transportation. Even if the M400X is delayed further, it's only a matter of time until some company successfully develops the flying car concept. On Moller's website, the specs of the M400X are advertised as follows:

Passengers: 4
Maximum speed: 375 MPH
Cruise speed (20,000 ft.): 275 MPH
Range: 750 Miles
Size: Large automobile
Best mileage: approx. 20 MPG
Useful payload: 750 lbs
Can hover with one engine failed

Time will tell if the M400X reaches production. But if it does, what an achievement!

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By chrisinbama — On Oct 26, 2010

@purplespark: I read an article about that car/plane. It is called the “Transition”. Supposedly, the car/plane has a 20 gallon tank and a 450 mile range. It will reach a speed of 115 mph. The pilot can actually switch from one mode to the other within 30 seconds. The wings will fold up and the engine power will shift from the rear-mounted propeller to the front wheels.

20 hours training time is required for the “Transition”. It has two seats. It is hoped that the vehicle will lead to better safety. If you are piloting this car and detect bad weather, you can just fold up the wings and land at the nearest airport and start driving. They are taking deposits now and hope to deliver the first Transition in late 2011.

Back in my days, I only dreamed of us having these futuristic flying cars!

By wesley91 — On Oct 26, 2010

@purplespark: Terrafugia is, indeed, taking deposits now for their “flying car”. The MIT students from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics have successfully flight tested the prototype of a winged car. The car took off from a runway in Plattsburg, New York. It flew for 37 seconds. It uses a 100 hp Rotax engine that gets around 30 mpg on the highway and uses unleaded gasoline.

By PurpleSpark — On Oct 26, 2010

Has anyone ever heard of a company called Terrafugia? I heard that they also have a flying car that will be ready in 2011 and that they are accepting deposits, as well.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
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