Japanese engineers hope that the Olympic cauldron at the 2020 Tokyo Games will be lit by a Flying Car.
The engineering group, Cart!vator, is in a race against time to build a reliable Flying car that can function both on city streets and in the air. Their vehicle, if completed in time, will be able to drive on normal roads, but will also have the ability to take off vertically and hover, according to Gizmodo.
But the engineers behind the flying car are looking beyond 2020 — in fact, they hope that the technology behind their engineering feat could be applied on a mass scale, the group told Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper.
“If technological innovation is achieved in the battery performance and other fields, the vehicles could be commercialized in the future,” associate professor and engineering collaborator Masafumi Miwa said.
The group’s current planned vehicle will be based on an electric tricycle design. It’ll measure roughly 10 feet long by 4 feet wide, and will be powered by a total of four propellers. Their ultimate goal is be able to get the vehicle to fly around 30 miles at an altitude of 500 feet. The current model can reportedly only fly for about five seconds, a few feet off the ground.
The engineers tested a smaller scale prototype of the flying car, which was capable of flying almost 10 feet, The Telegraph reported. Through crowdfunding, the group was able to purchase and construct a full-scale prototype with about $25,300 in funding.
Cart!vator is currently working out some of the kinks with the full-scale project, including improving the software systems for better propeller control and replacing the aluminum frame with a lighter carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.
Whether or not the flying car will be ready in time for the 2020 Olympics remains to be seen. The group’s main issue now is finding additional funds for the project. They estimate that close to $300,000 is needed for a manned flight to be possible, and are currently searching for investors and corporations to sponsor the project.
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