Air Force Turns Focus to Flying Cars

Esteban De Armas/

A virtual conference will kick off the service’s Agility Prime initiative to operationalize flying cars.

Where they’re going, they won’t need roads.

The Air Force will host a five-day virtual conference next week centered on flying cars, a sci-fi concept the military is working on turning into reality. The conference will serve as the launch for the Air Force’s Agility Prime initiative to operationalize flying cars—referred to as electronic vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL vehicles—for military missions and accelerate the commercial market for the emerging technologies.

According to an Air Force email announcing the event, it will also feature the “unveiling of a new aircraft.”

Air Force officials previewed the Agility Prime program last year as a way to develop a future replacement for military’s workhorse aircraft, the V-22 Osprey.

“I view it as a technology opportunity for programs pushing technology to not just go traditionally from requirement to the end state…We owe it to [warfighters] to close the loop and to bring back opportunities,” Will Roper, Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition, said in September. “In the case of this Agility Prime program, we went back to [Air Force Special Operations Command] and said, ‘We can also look more broadly at where commercial innovation is going in flying cars and see what’s possible.’ It may not be able to do the full mission of the Osprey but it has a lot of compelling options, especially in logistics.”

Speakers at the five-day event include a who’s who of Air Force Leadership, including Secretary Barbara Barrett, Chief of Staff General David Goldfein and Roper, as well as speakers from NASA and the Defense Innovation Unit.