It’s been some time since we last heard about the government’s plans for a flying vehicle, but at a Dewan Rakyat session today, it has been revealed that a prototype will be ready as early as October this year, The Star reports.

This is according to entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, who was replying to a query by Datuk Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh on the status of the project.

“The ministry only plays its role as a development facilitator of the air mobility industry ecosystem, especially in the drafting of policies, regulations and support for local players to fulfil the need of the industry,” said Redzuan. He added that all the intellectual property including design, cost and software of the air mobility vehicle will be fully owned by the local company that is developing it.

The air mobility industry has been identified by the ministry to have high market potential in local and international markets, with focus on the infrastructure, security and agriculture sectors.

“The air mobility industry uses the latest application technology like drones, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), mobility and the internet of things (IoT), which are growing swiftly at the international level,” explained Redzuan.

To ensure Malaysia isn’t left behind in this sector, Redzuan said it was important for the government to ensure local players and companies are provided with the necessary ecosystem and laws.

“We have initiated several discussions with the relevant ministries, including the transport ministry and the civil aviation authority, to look into some space and the laws needed so we will be prepared and allow the industry to grow.

“Other countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have invited us to see the launch of their flying vehicle project and they have started to create laws from three years ago,” he commented.

Earlier in March, a scale model of a flying vehicle prototype was put on display at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2019 (LIMA 19) exhibition. Called the Vector, it’s essentially less of a “flying car,” and more of a drone-based, point-to-point air mobility solution.

Developed by Aerodyne Group, the Vector will reportedly be powered by four motors and a lithium-ion battery. Weighing in at 600 kg, and with a payload capacoty of up to 200 kg, the vehicle is capable of flying about 50 metres above ground level at 60 km/h, and has from 30 up to 90 minutes of flight time.