New Inventions: Flying Cars
In light of recent technological breakthroughs, flying cars could have their debut in the commercial market in 10 years and be in wide use in less than 20 years. After being the subject of science fiction and fantasy for a century, flying cars are finally coming of age.
Dr. Dariush Adli, President of the renowned Los Angeles based ADLI Law Group, which is well known for representing and advising high-tech corporate and start up companies on protecting their valuable technological inventions, points out that “the two key developments that are helping flying cars become a commercial reality are lighter electric engines and improvements in battery storage capacity.”
The real prospect of a commercially viable flying car has caused Google and Uber to pour in millions of dollars into start up companies that are working on developing prototypes of flying vehicles about the size of a large car.
Dr. Adli points out that “the three keys to commercial success of flying cars will be functionality, economy and safety. In other words, the average consumer must consider a flying car to be acceptably usable, affordable and safe in order to buy or use it.”
Current technical efforts are focused on substituting light electric engines for the current heavy and bulky combustion engines. However, electrical engines have traditionally suffered from relatively low power. “The big advantage of the traditional combustion engine is its ability to provide a concentrated source of power, which flying objects need for take off. This allows airborne objects using a combustion engine to travel long distances without refueling. Dr. Adli notes. “Getting a 4000 lb car airborne requires powerful engines. For that reason, they will require several engines to provide the required power for take off. However, battery power is expected to double over the next ten years, which would allow a reduction in the number of engines required.”
Cost is another obstacle to mass production of flying cars. Dr. Adli points out that “the dual requirements of light, but powerful engines makes the current projected costs of flying cars well beyond the reach of the average consumers. However, rapid improvements in technology is expected to bring the costs down substantially over the next decade, making them much more affordable”
As the prospects for a commercially viable flying car get closer to reality, the competition to be the first to the market is heating up. In that regard, Dr. Adli states that “A crucial factor for commercial success in a competitive environment is obtaining patent protection for the various technological innovations of the flying car. A patent gives its owner 20 years of exclusivity, which allows for the patent owner to get a firm foothold in the market before any competition is allowed in.”
For that reason Dr. Adli expects that in the competition to be the first in the flying car technology, “the race to the patent office to be at least as fierce as the race to the market.” “It is impossible to overstate the value of patent protection to the commercial success of the product associated with the patent.” Dr. Adli adds.
© 2017 Dr. Dariush Adli