Japanese firm SkyDrive released a video demonstration of their prototype flying car. It's an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle that operates similarly to an oversized quadcopter drone, although the SD-03 flying car has eight motors and propellers. According to SkyDrive, the SD-03 flew at an altitude of ten feet and stayed aloft for four minutes. From the New York Times:
Safety is one of two challenges preventing the technology from becoming widely used, said Derya Aksaray, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics at the University of Minnesota. Safe autonomous technology for eVTOL aircrafts is still being developed, Professor Aksaray said.
"These vehicles need to look at their environment, assess the situation and act accordingly," she said. "They cannot wait for a pilot or an operator to say, 'Now do this, now do that.' We cannot wait for that kind of micromanagement of the vehicle."
The other challenge is design: The vehicles should be powerful enough to carry any necessary weight, yet quiet enough to fly at undetermined low altitudes, she said.