What technology will be used in flying cars? Having a look at the technologies that will shape the transportation of the future

Moving in two dimensions has its own set of limitations and one such limitation hit almost every of us hard during the peak hours of the day. Yes, I am talking about traffic jams. What if you could fly with the car like a bird and land anywhere, keeping traffic jams at bay? While this used to be a dream, time is close to realizing it and the dream coming true. Just like traveling in an aircraft, we can travel in our private flying cars to travel to the office or our favorite weekend destination. 

While flying cars are not mainstream, prototypes have already been developed by various countries. But what are the technologies that have powered the prototypes, or the flying cars of the future? Science and technology never fail to amaze us, and there is every possibility that flying cars will use some technology that is yet to be developed through further research. But today I will talk about some technologies that may be used in the flying cars of the future.

So, without any further delay, let’s get started with what technologies will be used in flying cars. However, before getting started with the possible technologies that will be used in flying cars, one thing that is quite understandable is, that there will be no one technology for flying cars. Talking about flying cars, which many might consider as small planes, multiple technologies are used in aircraft to make them fly long distances. It is a clockwork of multiple technologies. So, let’s first start with take-off and landing aspects that are rudimentary for any flying vehicle.

Jet engines

Jet engines

Commercial and military aircraft create high thrust by igniting a mixture of fuel, and compressed air that release exhaust gasses at extremely high velocity. This in turn moves the aircraft forward following Newton’s third law motion. However, there will be problems if the same technology is implemented in flying cars.

Using this principle will require a runway, and consumers of flying cars with limited space will face troubles. However, the flying car manufacturers or other aviation companies can also open up private runways in the future for these flying cars to take off and land. However, that is a matter yet to be realized.

Jet engines also have a high power-to-weight ratio, which helps them generate the necessary power to lift the weight of the engine and accelerate quickly for faster take-off. However, flying cars will be relatively smaller and a lot of engineering will be required to quickly accelerate these cars without tipping them off when they are significantly lighter.

Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)

Vertical take off and landing VTOL

Unlike aircraft, helicopters don’t require a runway. The rotor creates a thrust downward that lifts the helicopter upward. The same type of principle is used in VTOL aircraft, where the same thrust is applied but in a downward direction helping the aircraft take off and land when necessary.

Electric Propulsion system

Electric Propulsion system

To keep the flying cars flying in mid-air, electric propulsion systems can fly the cars at a speed of around 360 Kilometers per hour, and this speed can be achieved in just 30 seconds. When it comes to electric propulsion systems, this will leave minimum carbon footprints for a greener ride. These propulsion systems are capable of generating multiple times the thrust generated by a chemical propulsion system.

Besides making these cars fly, there are other rudimentary requirements for safety, safe navigation, and other adaptations.

Air Traffic Control

Air Traffic Control

Aircraft are constantly controlled by air traffic controllers to guide the aircraft to the destination, provide important information about weather, etc., and present safe conditions for flight navigation. Commercial flights are a form of public transport and hence can be controlled by ATCs, but the same cannot be applied to flying cars, as the movement of a private car cannot be restricted or be made timebound like a scheduled flight.

To control the flying cars, automated air traffic control will use advanced telecommunication, and 5G technologies for machine-to-machine communication. It is not just machine-to-machine communication that is required. Advanced AI algorithms must be implemented when these cars are flying.

Automated air traffic control will ensure that the cars are flying at permissible altitudes and that there isn’t any type of collision between the airbornes that will seriously damage the cars, the travelers, and persons living on the ground.

Power source

Power source for Flying car

Talking about a small aircraft or a flying car, connecting adequate solar panels to fly a car for several hours is still a challenge. That said, the best way to power a flying car is to use Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries, or battery packs, with several batteries in a module can either be connected in series or parallel, or a specific combo to fulfill the electrical requirements in a flying car.

As of now, Lithium-ion batteries are the best choice, as Lithium-ion batteries offer the best energy density. It means lithium-ion batteries can deliver maximum power per unit weight, compared to any other type of battery. This will help the flying cars discard the extra weight, and fly lighter.

Besides Lithium-ion batteries, a special type of battery has been developed by China that can power small electronics for around 50 years. These batteries pack in Nickel-63 isotopes in a structure smaller than a coin. However, this type of battery is still in the testing phase, and cannot be used in a flying car unless further development is carried out. However, if such batteries can be used in flying cars, they will surely be highly efficient flying machines.

Other features

Besides the necessary features I just discussed, flying cars should also be able to travel on roads, and the wings should fold in such a situation allowing easier navigation of the car, as well as the other cars on the road. So, just like the ability to retract the wheels in a commercial aircraft, the flying cars need an additional ability to retract the wings too. 

How long before we can fly?

Talking about India, the first flying car has already been developed in 2018. However, an Indian company named The ePlane is actively participating in the transport revolution, and we can see an indigenous flying car in the coming years. In the beginning, there’s no doubt that the cars will be expensive, and that is quite normal because it is going to be a new technology, and a lot is already invested and is still being invested in streamlining this technology for commercial rollout.

Eplane Indian flying car

So, that’s all about the technologies that are supposed to be used in flying cars. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.