TRAVEL QUICKLY THROUGH THE AIR FROM THE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTRE TO THE AIRPORT TO INVESTIGATE THE CAUSE OF A MULTIPLE CAR COLLISION. OR AS A FLYING DOCTOR REACH YOUR PATIENTS USING THE VERY SAME VEHICLE BY ROAD OR BY AIR. SOON THIS WILL ALL BE POSSIBLE WITH THE FLYING CAR MADE BY DUTCH FIRM PAL-V.
IT’S NOT SCIENCE FICTION
It has taken about ten years to develop the PAL-V Liberty flying car. The PAL-V Liberty is a type of three-wheel motorbike with a folding rotor in which two people can drive and fly. The Netherlands National Vehicle and Driving Licence Registration Authority (RDW) and Rijkswaterstaat, the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, have been closely involved with this innovation. ‘In 2004, it still sounded like science fiction,’ said Aad van den Burg, Senior Network Development at Rijkswaterstaat. ‘By around 2009, it became serious. It was amazing to see the first prototype take off in 2015.’
INNOVATION AND TESTING
Van den Burg: ‘From the beginning, the PAL-V has followed the strict certification requirements in the vehicle and aviation industries. There is a lot involved. Various agencies provide assessments and certification: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Netherlands Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and the RDW. All of the functionalities have been tested using a specially developed flight simulator. The company itself is actually a kind of knowledge centre. They work on innovation and simultaneously devise the tests that must demonstrate that this new type of vehicle satisfies the regulations. In September, the RDW assessed the road vehicle section. The PAL-V is scheduled to come onto the market in 2019.
TECHNICAL TOUR DE FORCE
Is Rijkswaterstaat going to use the PAL-V for inspections? Van den Burg: ‘We are first going to consider which tasks it can be used for. Drones are also a good option. What is interesting about the PAL-V is that it’s something between a helicopter and a drone. It can drive on public roads and meets strict aviation regulations when it is certified. The PAL-V is a technical tour de force and there is certainly a target audience for it. Furthermore it is an advantage that this type of vehicle will soon be approved in the Netherlands since our country is well-known for reliability and road and vehicle safety.’