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The PAL-V Flying Car Floats Closer to Reality, Enters Final Stages of Certification

But we still aren't sure when we'll see this $400,000 contraption take to the skies.

Stop us if you've heard this before: flying cars are coming! Well, they are and they aren't, as has been the case for decades, really, although there certainly are plenty on their way. PAL-V is one of those, an upstart we've been following for a while now that has been trying to make its Liberty helicopter-car concept a reality since 2008. This year, the flying car will once again make an appearance at the Geneva International Motor Show. According to the company's CEO, Robert Dingemanse, the flying cars will be able to take to the sky by 2021—but the real news is that they've supposedly entered a late stage of air certification.

Then again, in 2018 PAL-V said its cars would be in customers' hands by 2019. Well, 2019 has come and gone and now the company has pushed back its estimates another year, to 2021. Helpfully, according to PAL-V, the facility in which the company's first product will be built has been "realized." Whether that means rendered or finished is as unclear as the idea of PAL-V producing vehicles last year with an assembly plant that didn't yet exist. 

The company also made other progress, having started the European Road Admission process— in what it describes as "a major milestone towards the start of delivery." Other regulatory leaps include the Liberty reaching the final stages of air certification, although PAL-V isn't very specific on what that means, exactly, for the flying car's rollout, timing-wise. However, even though CEO Dingemanse says we'll see PAL-V cars on the road (and not in the sky) in the coming months, the path forward for the Liberty is littered with obstacles. Limitations on where their flying car will be allowed to operate as designed are chief among those.

As PAL-V puts it, "because of the many challenges like regulations, infrastructure, technology, noise, safety, city turbulence, and social acceptance" it will be at least 10 years before we see flying cars in urban areas. So, if you're one of the people who ends up dropping $400,000 on PAL-V's flying car, your uses for it might be limited to the Italian Alps and the English countryside—not exactly the worst situation to be in, but a far cry from lifting off from the 405 freeway in L.A. and soaring to your destination before landing on a different public road. 

The order books for the PAL-V Liberty are—and have been—open. You can reserve one of the two versions of the Liberty on offer for as little as $2,500: The Pioneer edition and the Sport edition. The special Pioneer edition costs $599,000 and the Sport costs $399,000.