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The “Back To The Future” film franchise has captivated sci-fi geeks since the late 1980s, and gave the DeLorean DMC-12 instant fame for its futuristic looks. And now, it looks like DeLorean will be leaping into the future once again. On Monday, DeLorean Aerospace formally launched the DR-7, a proposed two-seat vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) personal air transport vehicle.
As reported by AVweb, the brains behind the project is none other than Paul DeLorean, the nephew of the original car creator, who serves as the CEO and chief designer of the company. As far-fetched as the concept sounds, the emergence of new lightweight materials, increased and more efficient batteries and sophisticated computer software powering autonomous cars means that it isn’t entirely unrealistic. What will be interesting, however, is how they’ll be regulated in terms of air traffic control and certification.
The company plans to conduct testing in an empty stretch of the California desert, similar to how other companies have tested Hyperloop systems. “We are moving forward on a full-size, piloted prototype which will carry two passengers and is designed to operate, fully electric, for a range of 120 miles,” DeLorean told Wired.
Under DeLorean’s lead, experts have told Wired that it may only be five to 15 years until we see VTOLs flying across the sky. “The design really solves a lot of major transportation problems and inefficiencies, such as deteriorating infrastructure, pollution, and road congestion,” DeLorean says.
A small player in the field, DeLorean joins Uber, Airbus and Google in pushing consumer-friendly VTOLs and autonomous cars as the future of urban transportation. The DR-7 will have foldable wings and will be around 20 feet long, meaning that it’ll be able to fit into a typical home garage. At a cost of about $250,000 to $300,000, the DR-7 will fly up to 120 miles on a single charge (Airbus’ Vahana is aiming for 50) based on its aerodynamics.
Featured Image Courtesy of DeLorean Aerospace.
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