As well as the ongoing development of self-driving cars, and intelligent cars which interact with your smartphone, there has long been an altogether more revolutionary movement in the automobile industry. AeroMobil is optimistic about the arrival of a commercial flying car, after one of its prototypes successfully took to the sky last year, writes JC Torres for SlashGear.

AeroMobil Says Its Flying Cars Will Launch In 2017

Aeromobil – Flying cars: From fiction to reality

That prototype was the AeroMobil 3.0, and the flying car undertook a successful test flight in which it showed off its distinctive looks. The body is as large as a limousine, but only two occupants can fit inside the cockpit, which is more reminiscent of a plane than a family saloon.

The flying car can take off from an airstrip as short as 200 meters, which will enable the machine to use smaller, easily constructed airstrips rather than traditional airports. The AeroMobil 3.0 boasts a partial autopilot mode, as well as a parachute which automatically deploys should the pilot fall ill.

The AeroMobil 3.0 is aimed at wealthy supercar collectors and flight enthusiasts, and although the flying car does not have a set price just yet, CEO Juraj Vaculik claims that it will eventually sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Regulatory obstacles

Signs are encouraging following a successful test flight but the major obstacles to the introduction of flying cars are not technical, but human. Regulation is already struggling to keep up with the idea of drones and autonomous cars, and flying cars present another issue for lawmakers to get their heads around.

It is thought that owners of the first wave of flying cars will be required to hold a pilots license as well as a drivers license. The company is already planning another version of the flying car, which will be more accessible to the masses. Vaculik predicts that the next generation will be fully autonomous vehicles, which would surely provide even more regulatory obstacles.

Flying cars have truly moved from the realms of science fiction to become an impending reality, but it remains to be seen how widespread their use will become, due to red-tape rather than technological limitations.