|The future shows a flying PAL-V car whizzing above the lines of traffic stuck|
* New design can fly 300 miles on one fuel tank
It may seem like science fiction, but experts have started creating a road network in the sky that could accommodate thousands of flying cars.
Scientists say that land vehicles that can convert into flying machines are now close enough to becoming a reality that there is a real practical need to develop a digital network in the clouds.
The complex interlinking skyways will allow the commuters of tomorrow to jet propel their way to and from work safely.
The complex aerial grid would allow workers to step out of their house straight into their own personal plane and reach work in half the time.
Aerospace Engineers hope the innovation would finally solve the huge congestion problem which regularly cripple Britain's road network and cause a huge headache for drivers.
The team at Liverpool University plan to use GPS technology combined with hi-tech detection and avoidance systems to avoid collisions.
It is hoped that the equipment would enable thousands of machines, known as Personal Air and Land Vehicles (PAL-Vs), to take to the skies at any one time.
One recently revealed James Bond-style prototype car plane features rotary blades which along with the propeller can be electronically packed away to create a land vehicle in just ten minutes.
This can then be driven like a car which, according to the Dutch company behind the concept, can hit a speed of 60mph in eight seconds.
Although it could cut a journey time from Liverpool to London to just an hour, at a current asking price of £150,000 and costly flying lessons required it is only affordable to society's high fliers.
However, flying taxis like the one in Fifth Element could be available for hire at a fraction of the cost.
According to Mike Jump who is heading up the digital mapping scheme says the possibility of regular sky travel is only 20-30 years away.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of crashes, the new flight paths will avoid big airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick.
The PAL-V planes will also fly much lower than modern passenger jets - a height of between 1,000ft and 1,500ft, to reduce the risk even more.
Scientists at Lausanne in Switzerland have also been assisting in the project and have tested 10 prototype machines flying in the air simultaneously.
Nasa is developing its own project in the U.S. to rival the British / European effort.
HIGH FLIER: HOW DOES THE FLYING CAR MEASURE UP?
This design for the futuristic flying car that could whizz through the skies at lightning speeds will certainly get speed junkies excited.
It is claimed the aircraft 'drives like a sports car' on the road and within a few minutes is ready for take-off.
When it is in the air, the PAL-V works in the same fashion as a gyrocopter - using lift generated by a rotor and forward speed produced by a foldable push propeller on the back.
PAL-V claim its 'roadable aircraft' will be able to accelerate from 0-60mph in eight seconds as a car and have a top airborne and road speed of 112mph.
Capacity: It might be a tight squeeze, but the three wheel flying machine can fit two people inside. It can carry a cargo of up to 230kgs - well above the average weight of two adults. On the road, with the rotors tucked away it measures four metres in length and it's width and height are just 1.6 metres - slimmer than most current road cars.
Road Performance: On land it can reach a maximum speed of 112mph and goes from 0-60 in just eight seconds. It can do 12km to the litre and has a range of 750 miles.
Flight Performance: In the air the PAL-V can also hit 112mph and needs to be going at a minimum speed of 50mph to stay in the sky. It needs just 165 metres to take off and 30 metres to land. It is not as fuel efficient in the air mode compared to the car mode, using 36 litres per hour. When it is floating above the land it has a range of up to 315 miles. It takes just 10 minutes to convert the £150,000 plane into a car.
|The prototype of the PAL-V gyrocopter which could be a common sight in the skies|
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