“YOU may smile, but it will come,” said Henry Ford in 1940, predicting the arrival of a machine that was part-automobile and part-aeroplane. For decades flying cars have obsessed technologists but eluded their mastery. Finally there is reason to believe. Several firms have offered hope that flying people in small pods for short trips might become a reality in the next decade. These are not cars, as most are not fit to drive on land, but rather small vehicles, which can rise and land vertically, like helicopters.
A prototype of a small electric plane that is capable of flying up to 300 km per hour, made by Lilium, a German startup, completed a successful test over Bavaria on April 20th. Lilium is starting work on a five-seat vehicle and hopes to offer a ride-hailing service.