Another week, another story about how flying cars might be the future of transportation. This time, it’s the turn of mobility specialist The Arsenale, which claimed that “the car is over” at the opening of the “first ever flying car store.”
Despite our very own Collin Woodard arguing that flying cars aren’t actually real, a quick browse of this very website brings up a host of creations that many people might think of as ‘flying cars.’
Now, The Arsenale has become the latest firm to try and bring the conversation around personal aviation to the masses.
If you aren’t familiar with the firm, it has been making a name for itself through the sale and promotion of some pretty outlandish machines since 2016. Perusing the company’s online catalogue brings up personal submarines, high-tech electric bikes, futuristic planes and some incredible looking cars.
It has now opened the doors to its latest project, a flagship store in New York city. The venue, which is The Arsenale’s third retail location, was dubbed the “world’s first flying car store” by founder Patrice Meignan.
The new store, which was opened in partnership with luxury watch maker Roger Dubuis, currently offers The Arsenale’s collection of apparel, alongside a $400,000 Icon sea plane. In the coming months, it will also be home to Renault’s outlandish Air4 ‘flying car’ concept from last year. Neither of which are the typical purchase for anyone wandering the streets of Manhattan.
Last year, The Arsenale worked with Renault to create the ‘flying car’ concept based on the design of the classic Renault 4. The electric quadcopter could fly for just a few minutes at a time, but was a first test for The Arsenale’s own aviation tech. And now, it seems that the firm is going all-in on its fight for flight.
“I think that we can hardly imagine what is going to come,” said Meignan.
Well, Meignan has some thoughts on that. In fact, he has a lot to say on the topic of the future of personal aviation.
He said: “It’s funny, when you look at the 1900s and you look at the car trade shows, in Detroit they were showing things like cars with bubbles and saying that in the future we are going to fly.”
Several decades on since flying cars made it into pop culture through appearances in Blade Runner and Back To The Future, Meignan now believes the technology is catching up with this sci-fi vision. He explained that “we have discovered more in the last 20 years than we did in the last 200 years” when it comes to personal flight.
Meignan added: “So it means that in the next three or four years a lot of things will change in terms of battery, in terms of motors, in terms of power et cetera.”
But this isn’t the only area that needs to be developed if we are to take to the skies. Infrastructure around roads above us also needs to be drawn up, as well as other aspects we take for granted when driving on the ground.
“Instead of driving on the floor, you’re going to takeoff and you’re going to use a road that is exactly yours. We are going to create a lot of new road architecture, we’re also going to need a new payment system in order to use these facilities, and new machines.”
And that’s where he believes that The Arsenale will come in.
Meignan said he has already opened discussions with “around 10” companies that are looking to work within the ‘flying car’ space. And while he has spoken with a small number of builders himself, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of brands looking to take to the skies.
Meignan said: “There are around 40 projects and some of them are great. It’s too much for an upcoming industry, but it shows that there is interest. At the end of the day, you might have just five or 10, or more – but it does show that there is something happening now.”
On top of this, Meignan is also taking everything he learned from the Renault Air4 and using that to create his own brand of personal aircraft.
“The difficulty is how do you go from a blog, website and store, to flying cars?” he asks.
That’s got to be a tough challenge to overcome. But, he says his reputation for “making crazy shit” should help The Arsenale Aero get off the ground.