“This is one small step for planes, one giant step for cars.”
Jim Dukhovny, CEO of Alef Aeronautics, as his company receives FAA approval for testing its "flying cars."
jul 28, 2023
The Big Picture: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released an implementation plan to regulate and develop standards for pilots and air-traffic control in "a new field of flight," Advanced Air Mobility. Companies that make vehicles called "air taxis" or eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing), or, most commonly known as, "flying cars," are seeking authorization from the FAA for testing and approval for sales.
The FAA says these vehicles will initially be able to takeoff and land at existing airports, heliports or future "vertiports," and pilots must be trained to operate them. The FAA's goal is for advanced air mobility "operations to be at scale at one or more sites by 2028" (FAA).
Growing Competition: The FAA recently granted a California-based startup, Alef Aeronautics, a Special Airworthiness Certification; the FAA said, "This certificate allows the aircraft to be used for limited purposes, including exhibition, research and development." Alef Aeronautics' "vehicle/aircraft, dubbed the 'Model A,' is the first flying vehicle that is drivable on public roads and able to park like a normal car," CNN reports. After proving they meet National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards, they can legally complete a test run in the sky and on roads.
South Florida's Doroni Aerospace is also developing a flying car, and while they haven't yet received FAA approval, their car has completed more than 50 test flights at the company's facilities. After it receives preliminary FAA approval, it will be "deemed safe and available for sale" (Miami Herald).
Both companies hope to launch their product commercially by 2025, with a price tag of around $300,000. Both companies also say they have already received pre-orders for their flying cars.