Štefan Vadocz for United Life 04
(44) | CCO Aeromobil | Bratislava
Stefan Klein, back then a student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava with a diploma from mechanical engineering chose the flying car as the subject of his diploma thesis. He accepted the engineering and design challenges that brought sleepless nights to minds like Henry Ford who foretold the fusion of a car and a flying machine already in 1940. The concepts, models and different paths of development with or without transformation came first. Velvet Revolution liberated the country and opened its airspace. It spurred the development even further. Nothing compares to being airborne and flying like a bird for someone from a family of aviators.
Aeromobil entered the global scene in 2013. A project supported only by few enthusiasts at its start attracted the interest of Boeing and NASA experts at a global aerospace conference SAE AeroTech in Montreal. The video presentation of the pre-prototype AeroMobil 2.5. triggered an explosion of attention from not only industry experts but also from the world media such as CNBC, the New York Times, Reuters, Wired or Neue Züricher Zeitung along with first funding offers.
There is always something new going on in the hangar of AeroMobil. The company is currently testing the pre-production prototype AeroMobil 3.0. that is being produced in compliance with the norms of the ultralight aircraft category and the limited edition of the M1 automobile. The company founders believe tin their potential to certify the vehicle and launch it by 2016 thanks to the professional experience of the entire team and the solid expertise in the field in Slovakia and its surroundings. The entire context of AeroMobil`s development is especially motivating for the whole team. ‚Shark‘ and ‚Dynamic‘ are popular ultralight aircraft models that have been certified in Slovakia and found their customers around the world. At the same time, a unique sports car prototype Praga emerges. The level of experience in the field of aeronautical and automotive engineering in Czech Republic is absolutely unique which means there is experience that can be leveraged.
Klein and Vaculík consider AeroMobil to be the next level of innovation in the area. They believe it will start a revolution in the world of personal transport that is already testing the limits of its current infrastructure. Bear in mind that only 3% of earth`s surface are covered with roads or railways, let alone the fact that we aren’t able to build roads any quicker. Population grows faster than our ability to create new infrastructures. A vehicle like AeroMobil is capable of effectively solving the issue of congested roads and connects areas without any road infrastructure by taking some of the traffic into the air.
SAE studies show that a flying car is the most effective doorto-door transport option covering distances up to 700 km (435 mi) and turning traffic jams and crowded airports into history. 200 meters in a green area are needed for an AeroMobil to take off and land and it is capable of parking in regular parking slots. With the help of technology available today the vehicle is expected to operate autonomously in the future.
AeroMobil will still remain a category on its own, similarly to a motorcycle that is neither a motor bicycle nor a car on two wheels. It stays undecided though if the new category will be called ‘roadable aircraft‘ or ‚advanced flying automobile‘. It takes time until a new category establishes however the first steps have already been taken and they led to institutions such as EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and JRC (Joint Research Centre).
The company is currently widening its financing options with the aim to accelerate its development and the creation of required legislation, as well as creating an advisory board consisting of renowned experts in automotive and aeronautical industry, business and legislation.
After launching the prototype the company enters a new phase with external funding options consisting of three basic approaches:
• Individual private investment for clients who seek to invest into innovations and create a new market
• Structural EU funds for R&D and transportation, institutional investors, private equity, etc.
• Strategic partnership with a technology manufacturer who sees the innovation as beneficial for his production process
AeroMobil investors promote and believe in a positive change in the field of personal transport. Although the team has already presented its concepts in front of investors from Silicon Valley, potential manufacturers from China and received some initial feedback from Saudi Arabia, it still remains open to new funding offers, including private equity.