Indian ‘flying car’ that looks back to the future

BANGALORE, February 12, 2011 (AFP) – It would be the ultimate answer to the daily horror of gridlock on the traffic-choked, exhaust-filled roads of Indian cities. Unassumingly parked next to some of the world’s most lethal warplanes, a converted 800cc Maruti hatchback has stolen some of the thunder from the supersonic exhibits at the Aero India 2011 air show in the southern city of Bangalore.

The attraction? Rotating blades fitted on the four corners of the roof, and a vacuum section around the tyres which — its inventor insists — gives the car a vertical lift-off capability, allowing it to soar over any traffic jam.

Built in the 1980s by Japan’s Suzuki and only phased out last year, the Maruti 800 was India’s first small car, revolutionising transport for millions of people for whom car ownership had previously been a distant dream.

Now A.K. Vishwanath is hoping his “flying Maruti” will have an equally dramatic impact on the way people look at car travel — although it has never actually flown and he is extremely tight-lipped about its exact inner workings.

“After studying 2.5 million shapes and objects linked to automobiles and working