Israel-based startup AIR announced that its flying car prototype completed its first successful unmanned test flight. According to its developers, the accomplishment puts them on track to go to market in the next two years. The AIR I prototype was loaded to its full capacity of 1,100 kg, which consisted of 150 kg (simulating the weight of two passengers) plus the 945 kg of the aircraft.
AIR seeks to launch flying electric personal vehicles to the market. According to the company, their product on offer is an eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Vehicle) that would be launched approximately in 2024. Its AIR I prototype is capable of completing trips of up to 177 kilometers at a speed of up to 250 kilometers per hour and at a height of 1200 feet. The vehicle has retractable wings that facilitate parking, while its engines run only on electricity, so it does not require fuel.
AIR CEO and co-founder Rani Plaut told the Time of Israel that the company has received 273 pre-orders for its AIR I, out of which 240 were from US-based customers. They’re priced at $150,000, similar to a luxury car. Plaut expects to sell closet to 200 aircraft in 2024, with a goal of over 1,000 aircraft within two years.
In the next flight campaign, we hope to get to the maximum performance, which is an hour of cruise.Rani Plaut, AIR CEO and co-founder
The company has assured that the AIR I has flight certification from the competent international organizations, while tests with people inside the vehicle have not yet been carried out due to the fact that the vehicle’s safety must be almost 100% guaranteed.
“We are excited about the point that was reached with our prototype,” said AIR CEO Rani Plaut. ”We expect the first manned prototype to test in early 2024, while the product would go on sale by the end of that year.”
With this in mind, it can be expected that only after their release to the Israeli market will it be determined whether these personal flying vehicles are profitable to sell in other countries.
AIR was first conceived in 2017 by Chen Rosen, an aviation expert, who was later joined by Rani Plaut and Netanel Goldberg, as reported by the Times of Israel. AIR has raised close to $20 million and is in the process of raising $15 million via an A round of financing.