The idea of flying cars might not be merely a "Back to the Future" concept much longer. Klein Vision, a company founded in Slovakia, has completed a successful test flight of its prototype flying vehicle. The vehicle flew between two Slovakian cities and was airborne for about 35 minutes on June 28.
Stefan Klein, the firm’s chief technical officer and CEO, founded the company with his entrepreneur friend Anton Zajac in 2017. In November 2020, the company released a video of its prototype AirCar completing a successful maiden flight along with quick transfer to driving capability.
Klein Vision AirCar
Klein Vision is developing the AirCar, which doubles as a road vehicle and a working plane. As Yahoo Finance reported in 2020, “It looks as if the AirCar will be just as comfortable flying through the clouds as it is speeding across asphalt.”
The AirCar Prototype 1, which completed the flight between Nitra and the capital city of Bratislava earlier this week, features a 160 horsepower BMW engine. According to CNN, 40 hours of test flights have been conducted by Klein Vision.
The AirCar prototype has flown up to 8,200 feet and reached 190 kilometers in maximum cruising speed. During the intra-city test flight, after the transformation into a car, Klein and Zajac drove the vehicle into the city’s center. As Zajac noted in a press release, “AirCar...has turned science fiction into a reality.”
In the fall of 2020, FlightGlobal explained that the AirCar Prototype 1 weighs 1,100 kg and is capable of carrying 200 kg. It has a four-wheel undercarriage with a “self-lifting” fuselage shape. The dimensions enable parking in a conventional garage.
Klein Vision AirCar Prototype 2
As the AirCar Prototype 1 continues to undergo testing, Klein Vision is also developing the AirCar Prototype 2. The second version of the AirCar is expected to boast a faster cruising speed of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour) and a 1,000-kilometer (621 mile) range.
Klein Vision has other projects in the pipeline and plans on building three-seater and four-seater models. It also intends to develop a two-engine version and an amphibious one.
Flying car competition
Klein Vision isn’t the only firm developing innovative transportation technology. Joby Aviation has developed a four-passenger electric aircraft with fully vertical takeoff and landing capability.
Meanwhile, Hyundai is also working on an electric air taxi prototype, which it unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2020.
A Japanese company, Sky Drive Inc., conducted the first public demonstration of a flying vehicle in Japan in 2020.
Will Klein Vision go public?
Klein Vision is still working on its AirCar prototypes and hasn't announced any imminent plans for an IPO.