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DeLorean's next car is a flying one

Where we're going, we won't need roads... but we will need sophisticated air-traffic control and parachutes.

Paul DeLorean isn't as famous as Larry Page, Airbus or Uber, but he's competing with all three in the race to build a flying car. DeLorean does have a famous name, however, and is the nephew of the John DeLorean, maker of the eponymous sports car made famous by Back to the Future. In a profile at Wired, the youger DeLorean reveals his plans for the DeLorean DR-7, a two-seater VTOL craft for personal transport.

According to the report, the DR-7 has four wings and a pair of winglets, while you'll find a fan jet up front and 'round back. The two fans will tilt, much like the Harrier and Osprey, from a horizontal orientation for take off and landing, through to vertical for flight. So far, DeLorean has built a dummy model that measures 30 feet long and 18.5 feet wide, although plans to have it fold down enough to fit in a large garage.

DeLorean intends to realize his dream of creating an autonomous, battery-powered craft with a range of 120 miles. That outrageous range is, he claims, because he plans to cruise at higher altitudes than other flying car projects. DeLorean expects to have a working prototype by the end of next year, and will conduct unmanned test-flights shortly afterward.

What DeLorean, or anyone else for that matter, has failed to explain is how exactly all of this is going to work in practice. For instance, what sort of air traffic control setup will be required to ensure mid-air collisions don't become commonplace? If a car has engine failure on a highway, that's a problem, but what happens if your VTOL craft conks out in a built-up area?

Not that those questions necessarily need to be answered just yet, after all, there's still all the Doc Brown gags to do in the next decade.