Friday, August 31, 2007

take flying car to work - no joke - almost on the market

Flying saucer' nears US take-off
By David Willis
BBC News, Davis, California

The M 200G "flying saucer" in action in California
Getting to work could take on a whole new dimension

Flying car showroom
It has been called the vehicle of the future and the ultimate way to beat the rush hour commute.

It is the M 200G, otherwise known as a "flying saucer", which is being built by a company in Davis, California called Moller International.

It says the futuristic contraption will go on sale in a few months and hopes to expand production to 250 a year.

Company representatives say it is easy to operate, with plenty of leg room and space for a passenger.

"Highway in the sky"

Capable of vertical take-off and landing, the craft hovers like a helicopter up to 10ft off the ground. Any higher and the driver would need a pilot's licence.

Cars are finished as a means of getting around. It's only a matter of time
Dr Paul Moller

It is the brainchild of Dr Paul Moller, an aeronautics engineer who envisions a "highway in the sky" which he believes could cut conventional commuter traffic in half.

"We have this wonderful natural resource above us," Dr Moller told the BBC.

"Look at the sky above us - how many aircraft do you see? It's a great space that is not being utilised. That is what we plan to use. Cars are finished as a means of getting around. It's only a matter of time."

The flying saucer is powered by eight engines which can run on petrol, diesel or even ethanol.

Dr Moller and his team have already conducted more than 200 test flights and say the flying saucer could prove useful to rescue teams as well as landowners.

Faster versions

It will sell for about $90,000 (£44,700) and the only question now surrounds licensing arrangements.

Moller International has yet to establish which US agency - the Federal Aviation Administration or the Department of Transport - will authorise its use.

It sees the flying saucer as a precursor to the M400 - otherwise known as the "Skycar" - which looks a bit like the Batmobile, also boasts vertical take-off and landing, and can be driven on the road as well as flown through the sky.

By the time the Skycar goes into production - probably in about six years time - it will be capable of climbing 6,000ft a minute and travelling at up to 400 miles an hour.

If Dr Moller and his magnificent men get their way, the days of dropping in to the shops or the office may not be far away.


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