Israeli startup NFT Inc. is developing its own autonomous electric flying car. Named the Asaka (or ASKA), which means ‘flying bird’ in Japanese, the flying car is equipped with 14 propellers for flight, as well as conventional wheels for ground travel. NFT will showcase the ASKA at the Ecomotion 2019 smart mobility show in Tel Aviv, and intends to begin test flights by next year.
The ASKA was designed to address inner city road traffic congestion, and will be available for private purchase in the coming years. To take off, the ASKA will need a runway of about 20-30 meters in length, and will be able to fly up to 3 people a distance of 550 km (~342 miles) at a speed in between 160-240 km/hr (~ 99-150 mph). While electric, NFT Inc. states that the ASKA will still need a petrol engine to charge its batteries.
Chairman of NFT Inc. Guy Kaplinsky envisioned the ASKA for use in inner city and suburban commuting. The car, says Kaplinsky, would allow people to live away from city centers without having to spend hours on the road. Kaplinsky estimated the initial price of the flying car will be between $200k and $300k (USD), but noted that he expects the price to drop once commercial production begins.
NFT Inc. was founded 4 years ago by Kaplinsky and his wife and CEO Maki Kaplinsky. To learn more about the company, visit the site here.
Why it’s important: The ASKA, poses an interesting angle to approaching to urban air mobility. While most other designs incorporate electric-based aviation, there are not many eVTOLs that are designed for both ground and air transportation. Combined with the fact that the Asaka will be available for private transportation, rather than public, the possible success of the Asaka will determine whether there is any potential for UAM in the upper-class demographic.
Sources // World Israel News