Jan 9, 2023 - News

Virginia is getting ready for flying cars

Illustration of a car with wings flying through the sky.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

State and local officials are starting to talk about what happens when flying cars arrive in Virginia.

Why it matters: Once the stuff of sci-fi fantasies, it's no longer a hypothetical discussion.

  • The maker of the Jetson One — a single-passenger aircraft whose manufacturer says it can take off and land from a driveway — says one of its first customers is in Charlottesville, with a delivery scheduled for later this year, per the company's website.

What they're saying: "These are probably going to be popular and your residents are probably going to want to buy them if they can afford them," Mary Ashburn Pearson of Delta Airport Consultants recently told the Chesterfield Planning Commission, per the Chesterfield Observer.

  • The board received a briefing on the issue late last month, prompting a discussion about what steps the county should take to get ahead of the issue, the paper reports.

State of play: The state's Department of Aviation tells Axios that there are currently no rules about where the lightweight aircraft can take off and land.

  • They say they're working to help local governments develop appropriate rules and regulations.
  • "There will be places where it's appropriate and not appropriate [to take off and land]," John Campbell, director of communications and education at the Department of Aviation, said.

🚁 Be smart: The vehicles look and function like giant passenger drones and are known in the industry as eVTOLs, or electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

  • While single-passenger vehicles like the Jetson One are coming to market, the broader focus of the industry has been on autonomous air taxis and the vertiports from which they will take off and land.
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