The DeLorean name is famous among car aficionados thanks to the short lived DMC-12 sports car designed and manufactured by John DeLorean‘s DeLorean Motor Company from 1981–83. And the DeLorean sports car is also a movie icon featured as the souped-up time machine in the Back to the Future movie franchise. As it turns out Jon DeLorean’s nephew Paul has his own aerospace company, and is now working on making flying cars a reality.
Paul DeLorean is CEO and chief designer for DeLorean aerospace, which was founded in 2012 to develop a real life flying car. He is trying to create a two-seat vertical take-off and landing craft (VTOL) with the target of having a full-sized prototype ready within a year’s time, according to Wired. DeLorean’s first aircraft the DR-7 VTOL, features two turbines for propulsion. The plan is to make it a fully electric 20-foot vehicle, piloted craft that can travel for 120 miles on a full charge. The 120-mile range is noteworthy as a competitive differentiator from what competitors are trying for.
With the confluence of lighter yet stronger materials, better battery and electronic technology, there are many startups and well-known companies working on flying cars. Wired notes that Uber partnered with aviation companies including Embraer and Bell Helicopter, with plans to launch a flying fleet in Dubai by 2020. The reality of flying cars seems inevitably close, but then there is the major roadblock ahead known as government bureaucracy. How flying cars will be licensed, interact with normal vehicles and all the many complications of adding such infrastructure seems like an overwhelming task that could take years to come to fruition.