DeLorean is Building a Flying Car Straight Out of 'Back to the Future'

Monday, 14 August 2017 - 6:38PM
Monday, 14 August 2017 - 6:38PM
DeLorean is Building a Flying Car Straight Out of 'Back to the Future'
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Delorean Aerospace
A true Back to the Future DeLorean won't be possible until we make some major breakthroughs in time travel, but when that day comes, we won't need roads to hit 88 miles per hour. 

That's a because a "flying car," or at least a vehicle which can easily perform vertical takeoffs and landings, is in the works from DeLorean Aerospace, a company founded by Paul DeLorean. As the nephew of a certain John DeLorean who designed the short-lived but iconic sports car, Paul formed the aerospace company back in 2012 with the goal of creating an airborne vehicle.

Specifically, the company is putting together the DeLorean model DR-7, a "two-seat vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) personal air transport vehicle," according to Wired. When completed, the DR-7 will be 20 feet long and 18.5 feet wide, with four wings, two winglets underneath, and two fans that can swivel around in place. It's also a two-seater, so there's enough room for a friend to ride shotgun.

And instead of being powered by garbage, like Doc Brown's custom model, the DR-7 will be completely electric, so it's "cleaner" in nearly every sense of the word.

Perhaps most interestingly of all, the DR-7 is designed to be self-driving (or self-flying, in this case), so you would simply be able to enter your destination and the DeLorean will take off and do all the work. How it will avoid air collisions and other hazards hasn't been revealed, although similar, earthbound companies have been working on ethics systems for self-driving vehicles. But even that gets complicated once the vehicle's in the air, with a whole new axis of possible directions to move around in.

Of course, very little of the DR-7 has actually been finished yet, although DeLorean does have two scale models built to test out the physics. A prototype is in the works and will hopefully be built within a year's time, as Paul DeLorean explains:

Opening quote
"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."
Closing quote

While nothing's for sale yet, the flying car industry is slowing expanding, as DeLorean is now competing against Uber, Larry Page, and plenty of other folks with similar VTOL ambitions. So while it may feel like none of this is happening fast enough, there's lots of companies who are getting closer Doc's original vision. But only DeLorean has the name recognition.

It may be a while longer until flying DeLoreans are for sale to the public, so here's hoping we'll at least get some genuine hoverboards before then.
Science News