Is Toyota working on a flying car?

Is Toyota working on a flying car?
PHOTO: Toyota

NAGOYA - A US patent filing by a Toyota Motor subsidiary has raised speculation that the Japanese automaker is trying to give new meaning to the word off-road.

The application, filed in March of last year by Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, bears the eyebrow-raising title "Stackable Wing for an Aerocar." It describes wings that could attach to the roof of a car and be stowed when not in use. A number of US media outlets have reported on the patent filing.

Toyota is "applying for all sorts of patents on future mobility, but not all of them will prove practical," a spokesperson for the company said.

Toyota filed 1,567 US patent applications last year, the most by an automaker. Besides pursuing innovation in low-emission hybrid and fuel cell cars, it has also set its engineers to work on new ways of getting around -- including, apparently, flying cars. In July, Toyota, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Sparx Group agreed to set up an investment fund to back research on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence.

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