The first mass-market flying car is likely decades away from taking flight, but it’s not too soon to take the pulse of Americans when it comes to their feelings on airborne automobiles.
An online survey of 500 adults in the U.S. shows that the majority is looking forward to shorter travel times but concerned with the safety of flying cars. A report released this week by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, “A Survey of Public Opinion About Flying Cars,” showed that Americans are also anticipating fewer crashes, better fuel economy, and lower emissions.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they were “very concerned” about safety in the skies, followed by how flying cars will perform in congested airspace, poor weather, and at night. Learning how to use a flying car was a concern for one-third of survey takers. Meanwhile, companies are working to develop the technology. Bratislava, Slovakia-based AeroMobil announced on Thursday at the Top Marques Monaco supercar show that it is aiming to make its flying car concept, which requires a licensed pilot, available for pre-orders later this year. Production will be capped at 500 cars priced between $1.3 million and $1.6 million.
Most respondents said they would prefer flying cars to run on electricity rather than an engine, travel at least 400 miles between battery charges, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter instead of on a runway like an airplane. More than 60% said a flying car should seat three or four people, followed by one or two passengers (22%), and between five and eight passengers (16%).
A quarter of respondents said that a purchase price between $100,000 and $200,000 would be “definitely affordable,” while one-third think that insurance should cost twice the current price for insuring a car.
Survey takers said they’d rather fly their own cars than leave the task to a licensed pilot, but that half of them think that no more than 20 hours of flight training should be required before taking the controls.