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Flying Cars on the Horizon?

New joint venture hopes to put vehicles on the market by 2014.

Aviation engineer Dr. Paul Moller said his dream of flying "Skycars" is about to come true, thanks to a business joint venture announced Thursday.

Athena Technologies, of Harbor City, California signed an agreement with Miller International to create a joint venture project to build the aircraft in the U.S. and the People's Republic of China.

Moller said the initial investment will be $80 million -- part of a total planned investment of $480 million in both countries.

"We've never had a significant amount of capital at any one time," Moller said. "It's absolutely the biggest thing we've had happen."

Moller has been working on designs and applications of vertical take-off and landing (VOLT) aircraft since the 1960s.

His last full-scale, public flight test was in 1989.

"The thing which has always held me back, aside from capital, is the availability of an engine -- a power plant with unique capability," he said. "It's taken us decades to develop the kind of engines that have the power in the palm of your hand to power a car like these."

Moller said the first production models will be a two-passenger Skycar and a smaller, low-flying utility craft, which should be finished in 2014.

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