A NEW patent by Toyota suggests the automotive giant could have a flying car in its sights.
According an an application filed at the United States Patent and Trademark office, the vehicle Toyota has devised is a “dual-mode” car that can transition from a road-legal passenger car to a light aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
Like other flying cars that have been announced recently, the dual-mode Toyota will be feature electric motors, providing drive to the four wheels and propellors.
Power could come from hydrogen fuel cells, a gas turbine generator or “any other energy conversion device capable of generating sufficient electric power to drive the wheel”, such as batteries, according to the patent.
The vehicle’s wheels are sited at the end of arms that pivot at the top, allowing them to swing upwards, with propellers folding out from the wheel hubs to provide lift.
The patent claims they will provide enough thrust to allow the Toyota to take-off and fly.
The pivoting arm and flip-out rotor process is reversed when the driver (or should that be pilot?) brings the craft down to land.
Car makers often file madcap patents, so this shouldn’t be taken as definitive proof that Toyota will bring a flying car to market anytime soon. Earlier this year, Apple filed a patent for a self-driving car that lets you fight zombies, and in 2015 Jaguar Land Rover filed one for eye movement-controlled windscreen wipers.