The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has moved the United States from the Flintstones to the age of the Jetsons with one major decision.
According to the BBC, the FAA—a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for efficient aerospace travel—has issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to a flying car model developed by Alef Aeronautics, which will allow the vehicle to fly in limited locations for exhibition, research and developmental purposes.
The founders of Alef Aeronautics, a California-based company, started working on the concept in 2015 and within four years, created its first full-size flying-car prototype, a huge leap for a study called Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).
AAM is reportedly an umbrella term used for highly automated passenger or cargo-carrying flying aircrafts, typically referred to as air taxis or vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts.
“Our flights were very limited without this certification,” an Alef Aeronautics spokesperson told Flying Magazine. “This certification now gives us the ability to fly in locations we need (for example, near our headquarters in Silicon Valley) and [for] purposes we need (like exhibition, for example),”
“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA,” the company’s CEO, Jim Dukhovny, said to Big Think. “It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week.”
The name of the flying car the company is pushing is Armada Model Zero, a fully electric vehicle that takes off and lands vertically.
A couple of people took to social media to weigh in. One wrote, “I just realized flying cars would be so crazy like there’s a bunch of people flying their cars in the air with no traffic lights then all the sudden you flying out your car to your death cause you got in a crash, then flying at night would be even worse.”
But that reality is far from coming to fruition—the technology for flying cars isn’t there yet. The approval will allow Alef Aeronautics to do its first public demonstration of flight.
A problem, outside of getting them from the road to the air without taxing like a small plane’s take-off, is making the cars sleek and relatively quiet. Manufacturers will work with NASA as they consider how these flying cars will impact noise pollution.
Air pollution is also a factor. The only cars that have been green-lit are gas/electric hybrids.
Still, everything will be moving fast after this approval.
Alef Aeronautics plans to begin manufacturing in 2025 or early 2026, however, people can already pre-order the cars for $300,000. That’s just for now. After a while, the expensive price tag will drop and the average “His Boy Elroy” will be able to get one for $35,000.
Pete Buttigieg, the nation’s Secretary of Transportation, isn’t rushing to get one. As he told News Nation, “Certainly I’m not planning on switching the family minivan to a flying car anytime soon.”