With work on it reported to be 85% complete, the country’s first “flying car” is expected to be revealed before the year is out. The project has certainly not been without its detractors, but entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof says that Malaysia stands by its view on the project despite criticism being leveled at it from various parties, as Bernama reports.

The latest to take aim at the project is United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Professor Phillip Alston, who told The Malaysian Insight that a flying car would not be practical in Malaysia, where there are frequent storms.

Alston was also reported as saying that such a vehicle would consume too much fossil fuel. He said the venture would be a waste of resources and that Malaysia should instead prepare for the effects of climate change, which are already being felt.

Redzuan said that while everyone has different views on the matter, the government was open to any opinion on the project. “The UN might have their (own) opinion,” he said, adding that Alston’s statement was just “a view from a third party.”

He said that while Alston made some specific references, the project is not a government initiative but a private one. “We cannot curtail or prevent anyone who wants to get involved in that industry,” he said, adding that the project should be seen as a business opportunity with the potential to generate income and contribute to the country’s economy.

“If you look at the entire ecosystem in the industry itself, the size is about US$500 billion worldwide. It’s a big industry that we should get involved in and support,” he stated.

It is expected that the flying vehicle prototype that will be unveiled later this year will be the Vector, a drone-based, point-to-point air mobility solution being developed by Malaysian company Aerodyne Group in collaboration with a Japanese partner.

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