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Crowdfunded Flying Cars! Maybe!

Will it be ready for this holiday gift season? No.

Flying cars are coming closer to reality, and you can be a part of making it happen*!

* Kind of. Maybe.

A team from France has designed an ingenious flying car called the Skylys, and it’s seeking €2,250,000 (about $3.1 million) worth of funding on Indiegogo. But Mix Aerospace doesn’t even have a scaled-down Skylys model or prototype yet — the funding is explicitly for moving the team to Silicon Valley and turning a four-year self-funded research project into a product company.

You’ve heard about long time frames for crowdfunded hardware projects? The best-case scenario is to have the first Skylys in production in 2018.

There is plenty of flying car competition. Terrafugia’s Transition will have folding wings and is supposed to ship in 2016, Pal-V says its three-wheel vehicle is the first legal flying car in the world, and the Slovakian Aeromobil team released test-flight video last fall.

The Skylys is different because it’s more like a helicopter than a plane. As designed today, it has removable wings, it can take off vertically and it also has wheels.

“The problem with the flying car today today is either it’s too bulky — it’s a plane with wheels, not really a flying car — or, you have to fold the wings,” said co-founder Gary Chorostecki, speaking through a translator. “And since it’s a plane, you have to have a pilot license.”

Plus, Chorostecki said, the Skylys will be electric and it will be stylish. The Mix Aerospace team includes aerospace engineers and project managers from Thales Avionics and Dassault Aviation as well as an Apple designer.

It’s hard to imagine Indiegogo backers getting particularly excited about paying to move people from France to Silicon Valley to work on a project with such a long time horizon. But Chorostecki was unfazed by that line of questioning.

“The aim of the game at Indiegogo is to get our name out there,” he said. “We have the technology, patents and people behind us.”

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