The YEE flying car concept
Flying cars might still be a long way from becoming a commercial reality, but that doesn't stop designers letting their imaginations run wild when it comes to envisioning the airborne automobiles of the future... and they sure make for some gorgeous conceptual art. A case in point is the YEE, designed by South China University of Technology (SCUT) industrial design students Pan Jiazhi, Zhu Wenxi and Lai Zexin. Last month, their creation won the Gold Award for Best Creative Future at the First International Concept Car Design Contest in Beijing. One look at it, and it’s easy to see why.
When the YEE is in driving mode, its wings would fold downwards, and small wheels along their outside edges would allow them to act as outriggers. The car could even carve into turns, by leaning towards one outrigger and away from the other. Speaking of turning, though... how would the thing be steered?
When it went into flight mode, the YEE’s two back wheels would swing forward and their rather stylin’ spokes would reveal themselves to be the propeller blades that they actually were. Pretty clever. Another question comes to mind, however: when the car was taking off and its outriggers folded upwards to become wings, wouldn’t it just fall down on the road? And likewise, how would it maintain take-off speed or hold its back end up when its wheels folded forward? Just asking.
The SCUT team even went so far as to envision the socio-economic climate that would produce the need for such a vehicle. In future China, they predict, a “QUICK” group will emerge. The QUICKs will mostly be white-collar professionals, with few if any children. Because they would start their careers and get their own places immediately upon graduating college, they would at first have limited funds. This, in turn, would mean they'd have to live out in the suburbs. If you’re out in the ‘burbs and want a quick and easy way of getting downtown, what do you need? Of course, a flying car!
The cars would take off from designated flying stations, which would also feature solar panels for charging the vehicles. Maybe some day.
Images: International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Fordward swept low aspect ratio wings with tiny empennage? Rimmed hinged propeller-wheels? This is the kind of backward-ass screwy airplane design art students with no knowledge of real-world aircraft design come up with. Sure it looks futuristic and pretty but there is no way in hell this thing will fly, let alone fly safely or actually become certified. The closest thing to a viable roadable aircraft concept (flying car) is the terrafugia. This is crap.
Good questions! Obviously an idea NOT well thought out. Wonder how it ever won the competition? Speaks volumes on the judges!
need to have thought at least a bit more on the question of reality, eh?
Forward swept wings are inherently unstable and must be terribly stiff, but might work at low speeds. It needs a castor wheel under the nose to handle takeoffs and landings and the same for the back, the thing has to come off the ground for the wheels to turn facing forward to act as propellors. And what about that heavy tread? That will slow down the prop speed considerably and if it does reach 10 thousand rpm can you imagine that tread flinging itself off in pieces and tearing up the props? Can you say, retread? Nice looking, though You know, the wwII corsair\'s wings folded up, it didn\'t make it a car. No one wants a propellor up their tail pipe on the highway. Wade
Nice looking design; But it would still suffer from the isuue that affects all flying cars too heavy to be a car, too light to be an airplane.
I agree with peterraymondsharpe. This thing looks exactly like a college CAD design exercise, not something that could ever be realized. The average jerk is NOT who we want at the controls of machines that fly every which way over our towns and cities. Even if such a machine could be realized, the only way it would be permitted to operate in urban areas is under the control of an autopilot from takeoff to touchdown. In the U.S. there are FAA regulations that would make it difficult to operate point-to-point in cities, and many cities have their own local ordinances that may further restrict aircraft, not to mention gaining permission from one\'s employer or other businesses to operate aircraft to and from their parking lots and rooftops. It\'s a pipe dream.
THIS IDEA IS NOT FULLY DEVEOPED, BUT I LIKE IT. The designers at YEE should keep working on it.
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