Not Your Traditional Flying Car: UrbanAero

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The flying cars we all know and love share many attributes: They climb jauntily above traffic jams, park easily in a garage, and they're (so far) imaginary. UrbanAero's X-Hawk concept of the flying car is more like a flying truck -- a utilitarian VTOL powered-lift ducted-fan vehicle designed for ambulance chores, powerline maintenance, bridge inspection, and other such mundane but useful tasks. It's also imaginary, so far, but in recent weeks, the project has been busy, adding the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to its design team for its medevac version of the X-Hawk, and presenting an overview of the project at the meeting of the American Helicopter Society. A prototype design has been built and is being used for ground and hover tests. The proposed vehicle gets its lift from ducted fans rather than a rotor, which the company says will enable it to operate in complex urban or natural environments that are inaccessible to helicopters. For example, the X-Hawk could evacuate people from a tall building by hovering next to the windows. The company hopes to expedite the certification process by using engines and rotors that are already FAA-approved.