The idea of a flying car is almost as old as the automobile itself, captivating the imagination of many along the years.
Even Henry Ford experimented with the “sky flivver” in the mid 1920’s, but like other similar inventions, the outcome wasn’t terribly efficient (or safe) in real world applications. Nowadays, various concepts have evolved the idea into something resembling foldable airplanes that can be driven on public roads, rather than a genuine flying car, but recent patents from Toyota reveal that the Japanese car manufacturer has some interesting visions in this particular field.
Instead of folding wings, the patent describes a shape morphing fuselage – and method of transitioning an “aerocar” from land mode to flight mode – which includes flexible sections with a tensile skin cover stretched over them, allowing the wings of the vehicle to be stored within a space or cavity of the fuselage in normal driving conditions.
According to the patent, Toyota’s concept is comprised of three ideas in which the wings can deploy in order to facilitate flight. Moreover, it seems that the vehicle is driven by a rear-mounted engine, which also powers a propeller.
Don’t worry though, Toyota won’t probably make a Wacky Races-type flying car anytime soon, as the patent – which recently surfaced on the internet – was filed in 2014. Some patents and trademarks may signal new products or concepts from various car manufacturers, but most of the times they’re filed to protect a certain idea or breakthrough.