A look inside the AirPod One prototype.

Lionel Cirroneau/AP Photo

Air Cars in the Marketplace

India­'s Tata Mo­tors will likely p­rodu­ce the first air car in the marketplace in the next few years. Tata Motors' air car will also use the CAE engine. Although Tata announced in August 2008 that they aren't quite ready to roll out their air cars for mass production, Zero Pollution Motors still plans to produce a similar vehicle in the United States. Known collectively as the FlowAIR, these cars will cost about $17,800. The company, based in New Paltz, N.Y., says that it will start taking reservations in mid-2009 for vehicle deliveries in 2010. The company plans to roll out 10,000 air cars in the first year of production [source: Max]. MDI also recently unveiled the joystick-driven AirPod, the newest addition to its air car arsenal. Although the AirPod generates a top speed of only 43 mph, it's also extremely light and generates zero emissions.

Major automobile makers are watching the air car market with interest. If the first models catch on with consumers, they'll likely develop their own air car models. At present, a few smaller companies are planning to bring air cars to the market in the wake of the MDI-based vehicles. These include: 

  • K'Airmobiles -- French company K'Air Energy has built prototypes of an air-fueled bicycle and light road vehicle based on the K'air air compression engine [source: ­K'air]
  • Air Car Factories SA -- This Spanish company has an air car engine currently in development. The company's owner is currently involved in a dispute with former employer MDI over the rights to the technology [source: MDI].

Initially, the MDI cars will be the only air vehicles on the market. However, MDI has reportedly licensed the technology to manufacturers in a dozen different countries, so air cars should be available around the world soon.