It’s A long time since Bond villain Scaramanga escaped from 007 by taking off in his flying car. But experts believe we could be the closest we’ve ever been to being able to commute to work in our very own private flying machines.
One prototype with an engine built by British engineering specialist Prodrive, is a petrol-fuelled car which works on the roads and in the air.
The Aeromobil, which is being built in Slovakia, is seeking certification as both a car and a plane, and if all goes well, it could be certified just in time for the release of the next Bond film.
The latest model, which is currently being displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is the fourth version of a concept originally developed in the Nineties.
It looks a more sophisticated outfit than the one used by the Bond villain – a Matador sports car fitted with wings, which the assassin used to evade the MI6 spy during 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun.
And Aeromobil’s website makes it sound like a real-life flying car is very much within reach.
Inspired by a “perfectly aerodynamic teardrop shape”, the cars have a glass cockpit with an interior swathed in the “finest leather” for style and comfort.
Costing €1.2m (£1.1m), the car is 5.9m long and 2.2m wide, and can seat two people. There’s also space under the bonnet for luggage weighing up to 20kg – enough for a small suitcase or two.
And if you’re worried about plunging from the sky, never fear: it also has “the very latest in vehicle recovery ballistic parachutes” and “pyrotechnic seat belt technology”.
Prodrive is accepting orders for the cars but is only producing a limited number of units.
It isn’t the only company fighting to be the first to send a car into the skies. Many companies have created cars which are capable of becoming airborne. Earlier this year an electric flying car made its maiden test flight in Germany.
Lilium’s jet-propelled vehicle takes off and lands vertically, in the same way as a helicopter, and the company says it will be able to fly up to 186 miles using an electric battery.
Japanese engineers are working on small flying cars with the aim of using one to light the Olympic flame at the 2020 Games, which will be hosted in Tokyo.
And if you don’t have £1m to hand, Dutch company Pal…