Many drivers dream of a future, when their cars would be able to fly like the ones in Luc Besson's Fifth Element. A company from America ambitiously believes they'll make these dreams come true a lot sooner than you might imagine.
Terrafugia company is represented by a team of award-winning MIT-trained aerospace engineers and MBAs, working and creating to make "general aviation safer, more convenient, more fun, and more accessible."
Their first attempt at creating a land-and-air vehicle resulted in what they called 'Transition', a plane with foldable wings that can carry two persons and small enough to fit in your garage. To fly and drive Transition, a person would require a sport pilot license and $279,000. And a single-car garage.
What is even more interesting than Transition, though, is the new prototype the company is working on right now. TF-X, the first-ever unmanned flying car, is supposed to enter its testing phase in 2018 and be available to buyers by 2025. Pilot license will not be required, as this will be "the flying car for all of us," meaning even for us whose closest encounter with piloting skills was watching Harry Potter fly on a Nimbus 2000.
The semi-autonomous flying car will carry four people, making them feel as if they were travelling in a comfortable sedan, and have a range of 500 miles with cruise speeds up to 200mph. It will be able to take off or land vertically from a level clearing of at least 100ft in diameter and drive on roads and highways in horizontal position. TF-X will be equipped with folding wings with twin electric motors on each side, powered by a 300 horsepower engine.
To get to a desired destination, the driver will be required to input the chosen destination and let TF-X take over the drive. To make the vehicle safer, the driver will of course have the final say and will be able to control the vehicle manually, for example, in case of an emergency landing.
While the TF-X is still in the early stages of development and a production date estimated at 8-12 years from now, some details about it are already known. It comes as no surprise, really, that this type of convenience of personal transportation will see the price "consistent with high-end luxury cars", according to the manufacturer. So this might not be "the flying car for all of us" afterall.