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Urban Aeronautics plans X-Hawk flying car for 2010

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
January 31, 2007
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Flying cars have been doing this whole vaporware thing long before Duke Nukem Forever was even a twinkle in 3D Realms' eye. That's why it's practically absurd to assume anything at all will come from this new X-Hawk flying car, whose inventor, Rafi Yoeli, the founder of Urban Aeronautics, claims could ready for the market by 2010. The project has been in the works for years already, but Rafi recently managed to get a rudimentary prototype to fly a few feet off the ground, and has sparked some interest from Textron's Bell Helicopters for potential partnership. Two main things set the X-Hawk apart from the pack. First, the ducted fan design allows the car to achieve the speed and maneuverability of a helicopter -- 155 mph, 12,000-foot altitude, two hours of flight time, vertical take off and landing -- but removes the dangers of exposed rotors, allowing the "car" to sidle up to buildings for rescue missions, or coexist in close quarters with other vehicles. The enclosed-rotor design isn't perfectly unique, but the X-Hawk further differentiates itself by its target market: Rafi is going after those established military and rescue dollars, instead of the theoretical consumers willing to drop $1.5 million on a flying car that they'll still need to obtain complicated licenses for and etc. Making high-rise rescues possible, along with urban airlifts and such makes this sound like a natural fit, and perhaps we'll get a little bit of trickle-down flying car action before 2035 when Duke Nukem finally ships.

[Via Autoblog]



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