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Airbus A3 Vahana

Your flying car is nearly ready. But where will you fly it?

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Your flying car is nearly ready. But where will you fly it?

WATCH  | Airbus recently announced its flying car will be hitting the skies by the end of this year, which means the tired "Where's my flying car already?" question has been answered. Where will it be allowed to fly? That's another question.

Government red tape looms as an obstacle

The Airbus Vahana autonomous flying car is coming in 2018 (and so are, it appears, a lot of flying cars from smaller companies). But as prospective drone delivery companies like Amazon will tell you, just because the tech is here, that doesn't mean it'll be allowed to hit the skies.

I think the first usage of these would really be taking somebody maybe from West Virginia into Washington, D.C., Boston into New York.
Brooks Rainwater, National League of Cities

Rules of the (sky) road

The FAA dictates that airplanes take off from airports (duh), and even small helicopters have restrictions on where they can fly and touch down. Flying cars may not be so different at first, which would dash dreams of taking a "Jetsons"-like car flight from downtown to midtown.

But Brooks Rainwater, director at the National League of Cities, told Circa he expects regulations and air traffic technology to eventually adapt to flying cars, with take-off/landing spots coming to inner cities later.

I do believe we'll have scenario in New York City ... where a car could be parked Midtown and fly up into the air and take you Downtown.
Brooks Rainwater, National League of Cities
Transition flying over road
(Terrafugia)

Terrafugia’s prototype is more like a street-legal airplane; it can be driven from your garage to a take-off spot, which, for the time being, would have to be an airport. The company has a self-flying version, the TF-X, in the works.

Oh, and you won't be the one flying anyway

Since the FAA requires a pilot's license to fly anything, the future of flying cars may actually look more like flying car taxis -- self-driving flying car taxis. Airbus's Vahana, which will be able to fly autonomously and be hailed from an Uber-like smartphone app, is being built with that use in mind.

This is probably for the best, because who knows what kind of hike your monthly insurance rate would see after adding a flying car to your policy?

Vahana
(Airbus)

German company Airbus's Silicon Valley division, A3, is building the Vahana, an autonomous flying car that will be hailed by a smartphone app. The idea is that you won't need a pilot's license to use a flying car.

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