Toyota Files Patent for Flying Car with Pop-Out Rotors in the Wheels
Thanks to Toyota and other companies like Audi, Aston Martin, and Uber, the idea of a flying car is no longer a figment of our imagination, but rather a very real concept that is in the works.
Toyota Logo. (Photo: AFP Relaxnews)
"Back to the Future" may not have been totally off... just a few years early with its projections. A recently published US patent filed by Japanese automaker Toyota outlines a flying car with pop-out rotors in the wheels. The recent publication of a patent filed by Toyota in 2017 and spotted this week by AutoGuide exposes the car maker's design work on a flying car. Two main concepts are outlined in the patent abstract for the dual-mode vehicle: the "wheels for the vehicle, and a method of transitioning the vehicle from a land mode to a flight mode."
When your future self-decides to take flight mode for a spin, the wheels would electrically fold upward -- just as you imagined in your dreams. These flight adept wheels would be furnished with rotor blades, which would be "housed fully within the rim of the wheel" and that would emerge when the wheels begin rotating and, in no time, you would be able to get to the grocery store without waiting in traffic.
The wheels could potentially be powered in several different manners: "a battery pack, a gas turbine generator, a fuel cells, or any other energy conversion device capable of generating sufficient electric power to drive the wheels." These power systems will most likely have to be separate from those required for the flight mode rotors based on existing vehicles with vertical take-off and landing. This will significantly increase the weight and complexity of the land/aircraft, but the race for the ideal balance seems to have already begun.
Thanks to Toyota and other companies like Audi, Aston Martin, and Uber, the idea of a flying car is no longer a figment of our imagination, but rather a very real concept that is in the works. Tokyo-based company Cartivator, which itself has backing from Toyota, is even hoping to have its three-wheeled flying car based on drone tech, Skydrive, ready in time to light the Olympic flame at the 2020 Summer Olympics, a feat that would be sure to bring the flying car concept even more firmly into the real world.
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