WASHINGTON — People dreamed of soaring above traffic congestion even before George Jetson entranced kids with his cartoon flying car. Inventors and entrepreneurs have long tried and failed to make the dream a reality, but that may be changing.
Nearly a dozen companies around the globe, including some with deep pockets such as European aircraft maker Airbus, are competing to be the first to develop an aircraft that will enable commuters to glide above crowded roadways.
A few of the aircraft under development are cars with wings that unfold for flight, but most aren’t cars at all. Typically they take off and land vertically like helicopters.
It’s no sure bet that flying car dreams will turn into reality. There are many obstacles, including convincing regulators that the aircraft are safe.