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Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded? 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-about-my-jetpack? dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "We all just have too much money on our hands, and we really want a flying car, right? Well that's what Skylys thinks, as it's trying to crowdfund a flying car. According to its website, 'In detail we aim to create an urban dual-mode, hybrid flight and electric drive motorized vehicle that fits into sustainable mobility.' How much money does it need? Oh about $3,111,075. Apparently the company has run out of money and needs more to 'start construction on our two prototypes to confirm our technical specifications; pay the chaps in the legal department; industrial engineers and take up occupancy of our future offices in Silicon Valley, where our backers can of course pay us a visit.'"
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Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

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  • by AuralityKev (1356747) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:22PM (#46750123)
    They had me until "paying the lawyers."
    • by sunderland56 (621843) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:28PM (#46750177)

      They had me until "Silicon Valley".

      They aren't building a computer - they are building a car first, an airplane second, with some computer bits inside it. So why choose some of the world's most expensive real estate? Why put your engineering far, far away from any place you could test the flying capabilities?

      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:38PM (#46750261) Homepage Journal

        They had me until "Silicon Valley".

        They aren't building a computer - they are building a car first, an airplane second, with some computer bits inside it. So why choose some of the world's most expensive real estate? Why put your engineering far, far away from any place you could test the flying capabilities?

        Because trendy, vertically integrated social media is the new synergistic paradigm, moving forward with robust sustainability and transparency, resonating with doubled-down, rock star game changers utilizing the bleeding-edge Cloud to future proof value-added, deliverable monetization!

        Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my annual MBA-sponsored lobotomy.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        A) VC money
        B) A lot of engineering talents, not just computers.

      • So why choose some of the world's most expensive real estate?

        Because rich folks live there, with more money than brains. If you note what they said:

        where our backers can of course pay us a visit.

        So it seems they are going after rich investors, who want to go by a see a prototype of the toy that they are helping to build. Maybe even sit in the cockpit/driver's seat! So it is more of an entertainment expense, as opposed to a serious investment.

        As a non-rich, non-investor, not living in Silicon Valley, all I have to say is . . . have fun.

      • by nukenerd (172703)
        They had me until "flying car".
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      But, but, but the poster behind the laptop has an AT-AT on it. Maybe they could build one of those instead?

  • by tooslickvan (1061814) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:26PM (#46750155)
    Perhaps if they posted about their product on well know tech blogs with links to contribute then maybe it will work.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Perhaps if they posted about their product on well know tech blogs with links to contribute then maybe it will work.

      If you're about $3 Million short of being able to start your prototypes, pay your lawyers, and move into your offices ... you need much more than publicity.

      • by njnnja (2833511) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:16PM (#46750577)

        you need much more than publicity.

        ... only if their goal is to actually create a company that manufactures flying cars. If, however, their goal is to take a lot of people's money without giving them any legally recognized equity ownership or role in corporate governance, then I think that publicity is exactly what they need.

  • 'In detail we aim to create an urban dual-mode, hybrid flight and electric drive motorized vehicle that fits into sustainable mobility.'

    Does it have gattling guns? Can it be used for urban pacification? Does it have stealth technology?

    If not ... well, you're just another in a long line of people hoping to create a flying car.

    Many of us have long since relegated the idea into the long-since cliche bucket. And since I don't trust most people to drive in the mostly 2 dimensions offered by cars ... I really

  • In bigger cities, such a contraption would have to be computer-controlled to reduce the risk of human error to an acceptable level. But perhaps if something gets going in a rural area, investments in city-friendly control infrastructure will follow. Thus, it doesn't have to start out being city-ready; it just has to start out (and gain usage).

    Something like NASA's vertical-takeoff Puffin design sounds like the way to go for those without big yards or landing spots. Although, that's not really a "car". But "

    • Re:Getting started (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:38PM (#46750257) Homepage

      2D traffic sucks here; time to up-grade.

      I see way too many examples of people not understanding how to drive their car in 2D.

      The idea of many of these same drivers being expected to navigate in 3D is terrifying.

      There's a reason why getting a pilots license is much harder than getting a driving license. And the idiots I see around me talking on their phone, texting while driving, and weaving all over the place and making random lane changes ... these people in a flying car would be utterly dangerous.

      • by ewibble (1655195)

        I agree that most people would not be able to fly a car, but getting cars to fly themselves is possible, probably easier in some ways, you don't have those pesky pedestrians to get in your way, you can make all flying cars computer controlled from the start so you remove other stupid motorists from the equation.

      • Last week I saw somebody texting while riding a bike. Shit you not.

      • Not to mention how upkeep on a flying vehicle would be paramount because a breakdown would be far more dangerous. Vehicles broke down on the side of the road would drop from the sky on whatever is below. You see them on the side of the road all the time each one could have been a horrible accident if they were 100ft in the air.

        The flying car I've always thought sounded very cool but was far to impractical to actually use. {Not that wouldn't want one to play with but I don't live in a city}

      • by geekoid (135745)

        blahblahblah, whinewhnewhine.
        Because there isn't a way to deal with those issues at all.. nope. lets just give up because gstoddart doesn't like it.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        If we had anti-gravity cars like those in "The Jetsons" then I think it'd be fine, we'd need some kind of virtual lane system with upwards/downwards corridors as a heads up display and an emergency parachute (space capsule style?) to save your ass but it'd work and you could stay to sane consumer speeds with high speed high altitude "interstates". Anything that depends on wings for lift though has to stay at very high speeds and can't practically stop for anything, even if you have a VTOL system hovering fo

    • by tsa (15680)

      In rural areas you use a bike or the tube. Flying cars will only create more chaos and accidents. And we have enough of them already in urban areas.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:36PM (#46750237)

    I mean them Duke boys won't have enough breath left, it would be all "Yeeeeeeeee" and no "Haw"

    And what then I ask you what. then.

  • Current status: "€140 raised of €2,250,000 goal".

    The thing is, it's quite possible to build a flying car. The prototypes of the 1950s make that clear. The world needs some good small VTOL craft. But none of the people doing it seem to be able to bring it off.

    Small jet engines cost too much but can make VTOL work. Wankel engines (the Moller embarassment) or electric motors and batteries (this thing) don'tt have the power/weight ratio needed to do it well. It's probably quite possible to build

    • Flying cars are technically possible.

      Flying cars however are not desirable for everyday drivers: they have a hard enough time managing 2 dimensions, we don't need them to occupy a third. So unless they're fully automatic in flight mode (with manual control disabled), flying cars can only be flown by trained pilot.

      The market for pilots who want a plane that turns into a car is very small. That's why flying cars won't happen - not enough money in it.

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:53PM (#46750393)

        We already have flying cars: they're called "helicopters". They're absurdly expensive to operate, even the small 2-seater models, they're absurdly difficult to operate and require an enormous amount of training, and they're extremely dangerous.

        If you want a way to move people around faster, the answer is SkyTran.

        • by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Monday April 14, 2014 @04:06PM (#46750957) Homepage Journal

          No.
          Helicopter are not flying cars. They are a vertical airlift vehicle. Can you drive one around on the free way? take off where ever you want? go to a 30th floor McDonalds drive through?

          This is what people dream of when the want a flying car:
          http://justacarguy.blogspot.co... [blogspot.com]

        • And this is the issue with every single "flying car" prototype. The efficiency of a rotorcraft is determined by its disc loading. All of the VTOL "flying car" designs have a comparatively tiny disc area, and thus a ridiculous disc loading. With enough power you can make something like that, but in terms of engineering complexity, cost, and reliability it'll be far closer to a Harrier Jump Jet than it will to the Jetsons' car. That SkyTran thing seems pretty cool. Basically an autonomous pod transport syste
      • by bigpat (158134)

        Personally I don't have a pilots license because I don't have the money to waste on something that is of no economic benefit. If I could fly from point A to point B and get their in half the time and avoid traffic for similar costs to a car, then I would learn and adapt. And so would a lot of other people.

        Even if not everyone is suited to flying, as you suggest, then getting a portion of the population off the roads would still make a huge impact on traffic and ultimately allow us to grow our economy with

        • by sabri (584428)

          Personally I don't have a pilots license because I don't have the money to waste on something that is of no economic benefit.

          Well, I have been fortunate enough to be able to afford a pilot's license and I could not give a rat's ass about the economic benefit. There is nothing better than flying around in an airplane on a sunny day, at 1500ft above the Golden Gate bridge. And I will even go one step further: my first solo flight was the best day of my life. That includes losing my virginity and getting married. Check the continuous smile on this pilot's face during a first solo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com].

          Who cares about

          • by bigpat (158134)

            I would love to do some recreational flying, but I can't afford to with a family and a mortgage and many expenses. And I couldn't justify it as an expensive hobby before then.

            The point was simply that people don't fly because it isn't economically viable to do so. The number of pilot's licenses isn't an indication of people's ability to fly or their inclination to do so. It is an indication of the expense of flying which is partly the result of FAA regulations and the lack of efficient mass production of

            • by sabri (584428)

              I would love to do some recreational flying, but I can't afford to with a family and a mortgage and many expenses. And I couldn't justify it as an expensive hobby before then.

              I totally understand. However, most flight schools will offer an introductory flight for about $150.

              The point was simply that people don't fly because it isn't economically viable to do so. The number of pilot's licenses isn't an indication of people's ability to fly or their inclination to do so. It is an indication of the expense of flying which is partly the result of FAA regulations and the lack of efficient mass production of light aircraft.

              Yes, you are 100% correct. The reason why flying is so expensive is because maintenance is so expensive. You can buy an aircraft for the price of a mid-size car (~$30k). However, every 100 hours and every year you'll need inspection. Every 2000 hours you'll need an engine overhaul (or a new engine). And then there is the fuel consumption: your average Cessna 172 (one of the most popular GA aircraft), slurps b

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          I do that now. It's called a motorcycle. Just live some place where lane splitting is legal.
      • by tlambert (566799)

        Flying cars are technically possible.

        Flying cars however are not desirable for everyday drivers: they have a hard enough time managing 2 dimensions, we don't need them to occupy a third. So unless they're fully automatic in flight mode (with manual control disabled), flying cars can only be flown by trained pilot.

        Rename them "manned drones" and outsource the piloting to third world countries. Problem solved, since the FAA is OK with drones in U.S. airspace.

        http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]

    • by bigpat (158134)

      Why does a small jet engine have to cost too much? A quick search of jet turbines for model aircraft shows that the 52lbs max thrust P200-SX from JetCat costs $5,495. Sure you would need 6 or 7 of these to get an average sized adult off the ground vertically with some minimal airframe, but we aren't talking about millions of dollars we are talking about something under $100k to put together some sort of ultralight VTOL.

      I think the best flying car hope right now is actually in the small autonomous UAV spac

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        you're not an engineer, are you. Maybe you should think of the weight of the fuel it would take to power eight (one adult one ultralight frame) engines for even 20 minutes at max thrust. Answer, 120 liters, 96 kilos of kerosene. Oops, guess we need another engine to lift that....

      • by Animats (122034)

        Why does a small jet engine have to cost too much? A quick search of jet turbines for model aircraft shows that the 52lbs max thrust P200-SX from JetCat costs $5,495. Sure you would need 6 or 7 of these to get an average sized adult off the ground vertically with some minimal airframe, but we aren't talking about millions of dollars we are talking about something under $100k to put together some sort of ultralight VTOL.

        The JetCat isn't man-rated. It's for model aircraft.

        A JetCat needs an overhaul every 50 hours of operation. Mean time to failure is maybe a few hundred hours. A commercial jetliner turbine needs an overhaul every 3500 to 5000 hours of operation. Mean time to failure is around 100,000 hours.

        A Williams FJ44 is suitable for light aircraft, and could be used for a VTOL, but a pair of them costs over $1M.

  • Right question: "Will This Flying Car Get Off the Ground?" As in, "Will This Flying Car Ever Make a Profit?"

    Just like all others before it, no.

    • by famebait (450028)

      Oh, they make a profit all right. By taking the money and then not making any flying cars.

  • Well, they are good for a laugh sometimes at least.

    That they are looking for 'cool offices' in silicone valley tells me they are probably not going to spend any money they get all that wisely... which might be why they do not have enough.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:41PM (#46750285) Homepage
    It doesn't matter if it gets funded because it won't get built. If it flies, it's controlled by the FAA, and you'll be required to have a pilot's license to fly it. Not only that, but even if it has vertical take off you'll still have to take off from an airport or other helicopter pad or some other designated area. Your neighbours aren't going to stand for the sound of propellers spinning up every morning so you can fly off to work. And spinning props aren't very safe with kids and pets around. If you have to go to the airport and fly from there, and land at another airport, you might as well just drive to the airport, get in a real plane (rented most likely to save money), and then rent a car at your destination. There is simply no reason for a flying car to ever happen.
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:55PM (#46750409)

      You don't have to fly helicopters from any kind of designated area, as long as you're in Class G airspace. Of course, this excludes probably every municipality, and means you can only land in your backyard if you live in the sticks. And there's still the problem of where to land, unless your office is also in the sticks.

      • You don't have to fly helicopters from any kind of designated area, as long as you're in Class G airspace.

        Isn't that kind of like saying, "you don't have to have a license to drive a car, as long as you're not on a public road?"

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Not exactly, because most of the country is Class G airspace, and aircraft aren't limited to public roads. There's even lots of Class G airspace not too far from cities, located underneath controlled airspace. However you still might have to worry about local ordinances and such.

          • Not exactly, because most of the country is Class G airspace, and aircraft aren't limited to public roads. There's even lots of Class G airspace not too far from cities, located underneath controlled airspace. However you still might have to worry about local ordinances and such.

            Ah, so closer to the opposite of what I said.

            Learn somethin' new every day.

    • Not if the flight mode is totally autonomous. Lets say you don't need interstates anymore. If you want to travel a large distance you drive to a platform somewhere and set your destination. The computer takes over and off you go. Once it lands a few hundred miles away you take over again.

      • "Imagine, stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you'll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching

    • Ok, you get all the issues resolved. Then comes the physics and economics... so you get your Mr. Fusion to power all these flying cars from bits of trash thrown into the affordable reaction chamber, then you have to find a way to transform all that waste heat the things are going to give off in huge amounts times the number of cars. Remember, nothing is going to be 100% efficient and anything using propellers... Then you have the majority of horizontal movement energy wasted because after 60mph most of t

  • Are you saying this project can't get off the ground?

  • by fermion (181285)
    A hovering car certainly has applications. It would require less expensive roads and would be, in principle, much more self driving than a car on wheels. It would have to be as it will likely be difficult to control purely by human means. But a flying car. We essential have those. You just need a pilots license and have begin and end locations near an airfield for takeoff and landings. Of course air fields are not nearly as prolific as they used to be.
  • by sabernet (751826) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:51PM (#46750379) Homepage

    When the material sciences are to the point where a lightweight container can sustain Earth atmospheric pressure from crushing down on it, we'll have a practical way to take off vertically without prompting your neighbours to invest in surface to air missiles when you crank the engine on one of these in the morning on your daily commute.

    • When the material sciences are to the point where a lightweight container can sustain Earth atmospheric pressure from crushing down on it, we'll have a practical way to take off vertically without prompting your neighbours to invest in surface to air missiles when you crank the engine on one of these in the morning on your daily commute.

      Except that the density of air is ~ 1.2kg/m^3, so to produce 100 kg of lift (average weight of an adult male American: 90kg) you'd need a balloon with a volume of 100/1.2 = 83.333.. m^3.

      If your balloon is a sphere, the diameter should be 2 * (83.333 / (4*pi/3))^(1/3) = 5.42 meters. Google tells me that's about 18 feet.

      I suppose it would be feasible for recreational activities. Commuting into a city? Don't think so.

    • by Zouden (232738)

      Why vacuum? Hydrogen is almost as light, and then you don't need to maintain a vacuum.

  • Nope.

  • by Amtrak (2430376) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:29PM (#46750679)
    I'll believe in this when the car flys.
  • So, Indiegogo flexible funding campaign? I.e. they get money even if the campaign doesn't meet the goals? 4 years in development and nothing to show on the project page apart from a few renders that any kid can do in a day in 3DS Max or Blender? They throw big names like DASSAULT or Airbus around, ostensibly as being interested, but they need a few millions on Indiegogo? The perks are an obvious joke (40k euro for an old Renault Espace? You got to be kidding ...).

    Mr. Chorostecki appears to be an economic co

  • If you want a flying car, check out e-volo. [e-volo.com] They've flown their prototypes, they've got the cooperation of the German government, and apparently adequate funding to bring it to market.

    -jcr

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      forget it, one big-ass rotor is far more efficient and generates far more lift than a bunch of small ones. that thing has 20 minute flight time, and needs by their words a "range extender" for more than that, a combustion engine. there is a reason basics of helicopter design has not changed in decades, nothing else makes sense.

      • by jcr (53032)

        one big-ass rotor is far more efficient and generates far more lift than a bunch of small ones.

        The trade off is that one big-ass rotor makes a hell of a lot more noise, and is a single point of failure. The multicopter can lose several motors before it's unable to stay aloft.

        there is a reason basics of helicopter design has not changed in decades, nothing else makes sense.

        The multicopter wasn't feasible in the days of mechanical controls. Computers are better/faster/cheaper, and make things possible tha

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          no, the trade off is that a copter with one or two main rotors can actually lift something and stay aloft for more than mere minutes. The product is a scam to lure investors with no engineering knowledge.

          when is the last time you heard of the big rotor (and/or its "Jesus nut") failing?

  • When people want a flying car, they want this:
    http://justacarguy.blogspot.co... [blogspot.com]

    No props, no fans, not load noise.

  • your one stop scammer shop.
    You can also find magical medical 'devices' and perpetual motion machines.

  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Monday April 14, 2014 @05:06PM (#46751355)

    5 year old girls want a pony with sparkles - or maybe a unicorn, but they can't have one. Commuters want a flying car but they can't have one either.

    Aircraft fly by moving a lot of air downward in order to counteract gravity. If they move less air quickly the total power the need goes up (force goes as mass/second * velocity, power goes as mass/second * velocity SQUARED). So, in order to be efficient they need to have very big wings, or very big helicopter rotors, or very big low density volumes.

    Look at all conventional aircraft, they have BIG wings. Those wings will not fit on roads. So if you want a flying car you are left with a clunky folding wing contraption that is a terrible car AND a terrible airplane. No matter how pretty the CGI or fiberglass mock-up design it just isn't going to work.

    • But they built a 10th scale model!

      Physics and fluid dynamics obviously scale perfectly.
      My 16th scale RC car goes 65kph. There are full size electric cars with motors no larger than a microwave that go 1000kph all over the place.
      Wait a minute...

  • Despite the fact that most flexible funding indiegogo projects are scams and unless you donate huge amounts of money you get nothing of value back?

  • "'In detail we aim to create an urban dual-mode, hybrid flight and electric drive motorized vehicle that fits into sustainable mobility."

    Yeah, good luck with that.
  • Sorry, but I just can't see the feasibility of flying cars unless they're entirely autonomous. Getting a pilot's license is difficult for good reason, and is also part of why flying is so safe. I can't see how well it would work to teach everyone how to fly given that.

  • It may not produce many flying cars, but it may pay for a few rounds of drinks! And thankfully they use flexible funding, so they'll get their bar bill covered even if only four people have donated so far.

    From the page:
    "This campaign will receive all funds raised even if it does not reach its goal. Funding duration: March 31, 2014 - May 15, 2014 (11:59pm PT)."

  • So lets see... Indiegogo (because kickstarter doesn't allow vapourware projects) check! Flexible funding (so they can just runoff with whatever money people give without ever delivering anything) check! Zero actual photographs of anything real (and lots of impractical looking CG images) check!

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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