We’re still waiting for our Jetsons-style future full of flying cars, but at least one major auto manufacturer is at least working to make it a reality. It’s deep in their skunkworks division, but still.
Jalopnik reports Toyota is developing a shape-shifting car with a rear engine. Oh, it can also fly. The vehicle features a shape-morphing fuselage, and is also capable of transitioning from flight mode to land mode. The patent was filed in December 2014, but only recently came to light.
The patent, number 2016/0176256, is seemingly based on an existing futuristic Toyota car concept. It uses a rear-mounted pusher propeller and a “shape morphing method of transitioning an aerocar from a land mode to a flight mode.” The design also includes retractable wings and a flexible frame that can contract in flight mode. It would also use “shape memory materials” to transition from flight to land modes.
This is obviously just a moonshot idea, but it’s encouraging to see a major manufacturer like Toyota looking into something so off-the-wall and ambitious. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see these flying around the skies, but who knows? Maybe the 2.0 or 3.0 version of this could eventually hit the assembly line.