New "flying car" lets you take off and land in front of the shops

You could soon beat everyone else to the Saturday big shop thanks to a breakthrough new invention, a 'personal flying machine' which can take off and land vertically.

The 'Macrobat', which looks like a gigantic bird, is a fully-electric flying machine built for one. Currently in the prototype stage, it could one day be causing headaches and traffic jams on a high street near you, thanks to its vertical take off and landing (VTOL) abilities. Its wings tilt and it 'squats' on its legs like a bird.

The craft can fly up to 93 miles at a top speed of 111 miles per hour, which could get you from London to Bristol in record time. Who needs HS2?

The company building the Macrobat is South African startup Phractyl (pronounced Fractal), who say they are serious about making the aircraft a reality, starting with Africa.

"The primary focus of the aircraft is to address Africa's most critical transportation challenges. In particular, this refers to the mobility of people and stuff, to areas that are not accessible by land-based transport infrastructure," the company said.

Long-term, however, they aim to build a larger model which could be used as an air taxi. NASA is currently engaged in trials with VTOL company Joby in the US to see whether the flying machines could be approved for road use, so the Macrobat could be coming to a town near you sooner than you think.

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The Macrobat can be piloted by a person inside the aircraft, or used as a drone with a remote pilot. This means it could be used to pick people or cargo up without the need for an extra seat onboard.

The race to build affordable flying transport has heated up in recent years as eVTOL technology gets cheaper and cheaper, but companies building the tech face funding and legal hurdles.

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