A Volocopter 2X multirotor electric helicopter stands in a hangar at the Volocopter GmbH headquarters in Bruchsal, Germany

Technology

Over longer distances, a single-passenger flying car produces fewer emissions than does a petrol-powered vehicle on the roads.

Battery-powered ‘flying cars’ generate lower levels of greenhouse gases than do ground-based vehicles in some circumstances.

Flying cars now under development take off and land vertically, like helicopters, to make their airborne trips. Gregory Keoleian at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his colleagues modelled the greenhouse-gas emissions attributable to battery-powered flying cars and ground-based vehicles powered by either electricity or petrol.

Flying cars performed better than petrol vehicles on single-occupant trips longer than 35 kilometres. For a single person travelling 100 kilometres, a flying car’s emissions were 28% higher than an electric vehicle’s but 35% lower than a petrol vehicle’s. Flying cars that were operated as a taxi service — assumed to include one pilot and three passengers — could even outperform electric vehicles on the ground, assuming the average US occupancy rate of 1.54 passengers per vehicle.

The authors suggest that shared flying cars could have a beneficial, if niche, role in the transportation system of the future.

Article credit to: http://feeds.nature.com/~r/nature/rss/current/~3/bWxwrqIWhcw/d41586-019-01135-4

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