If 2017 is remembered for anything in the aviation industry, it could very well be as the Year of the Flying Car. Now more than ever, tech companies and Silicon Valley billionaires are competing to make The Jetsons a reality, to the point that the race for commercial space flight and the race for Mars have become secondary stories.

These so-called flying cars may not look like the aircraft we've been promised by Hollywood — like the infamous Moller SkyCar — but they're here already, in various forms, and a world of on-demand flying taxis is supposedly right around the corner.

The auto industry has taken notice, too, and companies have been quick to get in on the action. Earlier this month, Daimler invested in Germany's Volocopter, which will produce a five-seat electric VTOL air taxi and hopes to have a working prototype by the end of the year. Prior to that, Toyota joined forces with the startup Cartivator. That company's Skydrive project aims to put its own flying car in the sky as early as 2018, and the cherry on top would be the aircraft lighting the torch at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ford chairman Bill Ford said earlier this year that his company wouldn't be working on flying cars, but he admitted that the idea "isn't crazy." (This was, sadly, a critical blow to people longing for a real Ford Glideair.)

If it's not Uber creating a flying taxi network, it's Google co-founder Larry Page's Kitty Hawk testing the ultimate in recreational water vehicles. If AeroMobil isn't taking orders for its $1.2 million aircraft, pilots are doing the work themselves and hitting the sky and road for coffee runs. And while Pal-V opened its first factory to produce vehicles, Airbus is already hard at work perfecting the landing process.

Elon Musk believes the future of beating traffic is actually underground, and Ford says we have no business piloting cars when most people can't even drive well. Still, it's fun to think about ordering an air taxi on an app and zipping from point A to B while laughing at all the suckers below. It's so cool, in fact, that people have been thinking about it for at least 100 years, and so our friends at Part Catalog made these GIFs for a quick refresher on the ridiculous and ambitious history of flying cars.

The Flying Car Hybrids

Glenn Curtiss' Autoplane was introduced at the Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition in 1917 as the "Limousine of the Air," according to a Flight magazine article, and so we should be wishing it a happy 100th birthday. Unfortunately, it never flew and the aircraft met its demise when World War I began.

The 1937 Waterman Arrowbile actually flew, from Santa Monica to Cleveland; however, the public didn't have the flying car itch yet.

Convair thought people would line up in droves to purchase the 1947 ConVairCar Model 118. Convair was wrong. While the 118 actually flew, the first test flight was a huge failure, as the pilot mistook the car's full fuel gauge for the plane's fuel (of which there was very little), resulting in a crash.

Curtiss Autoplane
The 1917 Curtiss Autoplane never flew, but it paved the way for 100 years of flying car ambitions.Flight Magazine/Wikipedia

Thirty years after the Arrowbile, the 1966 Aerocar was ready to soar, but, still, people just weren't interested.

What do you get when you combine a Cessna Skymaster with a Ford Pinto? The 1971 AVE Mizar. Sadly, AVE founder Henry Smolinski and a company's VP were killed in a test flight crash.

The Terrafugia Transition took flight in 2009, with 2011 targeted for the first delivery. In 2017, the "world's first practical flying car" is still taking deposits but has yet to ship.

The 2014 AeroMobil 3.0 prototype's video was uplifting and inspirational. The 2017 AeroMobil 4.0, which made headlines for its price tag, seems way more serious and intense. Delivery is still three years away.

The Heli-cars

The Pitcairn PCA-2 wasn't a flying car, but it was a successful, celebrated autogyro that paved the way for today's ambitious gyrocopter and VTOL aircraft.

The 1936 Autogiro Company of America AC-35, designed to be driven and flown, was inspired by Pitcairn's PA-22. The AC-35 had a successful test flight and drive in 1936, but it was never produced.

Pitcairn PCA-2
Amelia Earhart once flew a Pitcairn PCA-2, and even briefly held the altitude record.NASA/NACA

The Wagner Aerocar flew in 1965, but it never materialized as the aircraft of the future.

In 2012 the Dutch company PAL-V tested its autogyro, and this summer the company cut the ribbon at a production facility. First delivery is expected in 2018.

Hover Bikes

The 1958 Curtiss-Wright VZ-7 was everything you'd expect from a VTOL quadcopter developed for the U.S. Army — it was bland and all business. It just wasn't good enough, and so the army passed on it.

The 1959 Chrysler VZ-6, like the VZ-7, was supposed to be the army's "Flying Jeep," but it was too heavy and simply never worked.

1958 Curtiss-Wright VZ-7
The 1958 Curtiss-Wright VZ-7 is exactly what you'd think of if someone said, "Flying Jeep."Wikipedia

And then there was the 1962 Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep, the best of the "Flying Jeep" concepts. Ultimately, the U.S. Army decided that the idea wouldn't work, and helicopters would be just fine.

In 2008 Aerofex introduced the Aero-X hoverbike, which has a wide variety of applications, from agriculture to sports. The company is still seemingly working toward making the Aero-X a reality.

Larry Page's Kitty Hawk Flyer got a lot of buzz earlier this year, but mostly because this "flying car" concept looked like a fun toy for weekend getaways at the lake.

Turbine Powered

Dr. Paul Moller’s vision for a sky full of flying saucers began with the Moller XM-2 in 1962. This was the first of several variations of a circular VTOL aircraft.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1989, the Moller M200X flew successfully for the media, and it would go on to fly 200 more times, according to legend.

The 1990 Sky Commuter is likely everything a dreamer could ever imagine for a flying car. Except it didn't work. But if you aren't hung up on details like that, you could have purchased the Commuter in 2015 for $71,500.

Moller M200X
Dr. Moller's early concepts would have had UFO hunters going nuts.Moller

Dr. Moller's dream has never died, and if someone wants to buy his 2003 Moller M400 SkyCar on eBay, he's more than willing to keep working toward making it fly without a cable.

The Urban Aeronautics X-Hawk is an offshoot of the Israeli company's CityHawk two-person flying transport that conducted testing in 2004. The X-Hawk's primary purpose was for rescue and evacuation by military and emergency services, like during battle or situations like Hurricanes Katrina or Harvey. The company aimed to have the X-Hawk flying by 2010, but it never took off.

The 2021 Terrafugia TF-X concept will go above and beyond the company's Transition, as it will be autonomous and the VTOL design will allow the driver/pilot to take off and land from designated areas with ease, avoiding both runways and roads.