Guy and Maki Kaplinsky, the founders of New Future Transportation (NFT), are developing a flying, autonomous vehicle, expected to start selling by 2025.
Their Silicon Valley-based startup unveiled the design plans last week at Israel’s EcoMotion conference, the largest smart mobility event in the country.
The testing of Aska Drive & Fly, the electric flying vehicle, will start in 2020. Aska (“flying bird” in Japanese) will take commuters door-to-door at a reduced cost and environmental impact.
This sleek vehicle with wings spanning 40 feet in flying mode will be able to take off vertically and fly autonomously – no pilot required – for a range of up to 150 miles (240 kilometers), according to NFT. Covering a significant distance, it will be built to fly for about an hour at a time.
The long-awaited dream of many Sci-Fi enthusiasts has been in its developmental stages for over a year now. The New Future Transportation operates an R&D center in Netanya, with Israeli experts and engineers working hard on designing and producing the vehicle’s flying and autonomous features.
Users will be able to drive to a helipad, located in central places throughout the city, where the vehicle will employ vertical take-off (and landing) to fly off autonomously to the desired destination. Flight changes and adjustments will also be possible in case of unfavorable weather conditions, turbulence, or even users’ preferences.
NFT assures that the flying vehicle design is in agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety requirements, such as safe landings in case of power failure, back-up systems, and the overall high reliability.
Aska’s starting cost will amount to somewhere between $200,000-$300,000. As indicated by the NFT, the ultimate goal is to make the car affordable for broader audiences and reduce the cost to around $50,000.
“The target market for Aska is families with kids,” said Elena Olvovsky, algorithm leader at the Netanya R&D Center, at the EcoMotion event. “It has to be practical and affordable without anyone needing a flying license.”
A subscription-based model will be employed by 2025 when Aska hits the market, and customers will be able to use the car when need be. While buying the car will still be an option, most people aren’t expected to resort to this solution, as paying by the hour will be more cost-efficient.
With Aska roaming the skies, the overall quality of life is expected to improve, also reducing the living costs in large cities. Eventually, traffic congestion could become little more than a distant memory.
“Our main target is enabling people to move out of the major cities because of the cost of living,” Kaplinsky said. “If you can commute at a reasonable cost, you can have a better quality of life.”
Aska, an electric, autonomous flying car by NFT. Image courtesy.