Toyota has developed a concept of a flying vehicle that retracts its wings into the fuselage once it is on land. A patent filed by the company in 2014 revealed the way the vehicle would transform from a land vehicle to a flying vehicle and vice-versa. The flexible wings remain attached in a rear portion of the vehicle which has movable panels. The movable panels are hinged above the rooftop of the automotive. The wings are able to fold and unfold after the movable panel allows space into which wings can retract. There is also a possibility that the fuselage may be managed with the help of telescopic struts in order to adjust with the airflow characteristics when the vehicle is aloft in air.
Although other important descriptions like the kind of engine that would be used has not been described. However, a propeller mounted in the rear part of the vehicle can be seen. Features like a second propeller or a rudder that are required in flying vehicles are not marked in the diagrams. It is presumed that the functionalities would be carried out by ailerons or flaps present on foldable wings.
Interestingly there have been many great developments in the field of flying cars in past few years. AeroMobil, the Slovakian company has come up with three generations of an advanced flying car. While there have been reports of very advanced models being developed by German engineers. Google co-founder Larry Page has backed two flying car developers and patents of very advanced VTOL vehicle have already been filed by one of them.
AeroMobil’s flying car also carries retractable wing system at a variable angle attack. This allows take-off within a short-distance. There is also provision of a resilient suspension that helps to take off from less smooth runways.
The companies funded by Larry Page show signs of tough competition with each other and are independently working on two flying car project.One of the companies Zee.aero has filed its patent on concept of a VTOL vehicle ‘that can fit in the parking of a multiplex’ while the other one Kitty Hawk is working to produce a quadcopter.
However, it may still be too soon to expect a flying vehicle to be launched in near future.