A flying machine for four passengers with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities currently in the prototype phase.
It is described as a car since it is aimed at being a popular means of transport anyone can drive, incorporating automated flight controls. The driver should only input direction and speed, no pilot knowledge being required.
Also it is argued that using inexpensive engines (wankel type) and hardware, its price will eventually fall close to that of a quality car, even if at the moment the price for the first units is expected to be close to $ 1 million.
As of November 2001, the vehicle has not flown independently. According to the developers, whilst the engines and fans are developing sufficient lift to allow takeoff, development on the software to ensure the stability of the craft in the air is not yet complete.
Its features include 350 mph cruise speed, eight low-emission wankel engines, garage size, consumption like a big car, a parachute for the whole machine and road capacity for short distances (to be driven to a take-off facility -called vertiport-).
The main drawback is the environmental concerns it may rise. Even if consumption in miles per gallon is eventually the same as a car, it is clear, given their high speeds, that these vehicles would be used for much longer commuting and travelling trips, therefore increasing total emissions notably. Even so, their use could bring decisive operating advantages as patrols, firefighter and ambulance vehicles. Also it has to be taken into account that cleaner sources of power could be adapted to the aircraft in the future (like hydrogen or compressed Air Engine technologies).
There are photos and complete information at www.moller.com