Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia has announced it is working on a concept for a four-seater vehicle with motorised rotors, which can take off without the need for a runway.
Dubbed TF-X, the vehicle's wings and rotors are designed to fold into the side of the car when it's on the road, making it small enough to park in a standard garage.
The ability to take off from standstill would allow owners to take to the air from their driveways. Once in the air, it is expected to be able to fly nonstop for 500 miles.
The TF-X probably wouldn't be suitable for escaping traffic jams, however, as it requires a 30-metre-wide clear space around it during takeoff.
A working model of the aircraft is expected to become available to purchase within eight to 12 years.
Meanwhile Terrafugia's earlier flying car concept, the Transition, which last year flew for eight minutes at an altitude of 420 metres during its test flight, is set to become available to buy within two years, priced at £190,000.
Other hybrid vehicles we've featured include a car shaped like a catamaran and designer Ross Lovegrove's idea for bubble-shaped cars powered by solar canopies – see all transport.
Here's more information from Terrafugia:
Terrafugia Shares TF-X Vision
Terrafugia Inc., the developer of the Transition street-legal airplane, announced its vision for the future of personal transportation. Building on its experience with the Transition program, Terrafugia has begun feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid- electric flying car, the TF-X. Incorporating the state-of-the-art in intelligent systems, fly by wire controls, and currently available technology, the TF-X will further increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation.
"This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition development," says Terrafugia CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich. "We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation."
Terrafugia’s design team is excited to be looking ahead to TF-X development activities as the Transition programme shifts from research and development to certification, production, and customer support activities. The Transition serves as a Proof of Process for TF-X development and commercialisation through the many technical, regulatory, and usage challenges it has overcome.
By directly addressing congestion and other transportation challenges currently being faced internationally, widespread adoption of vehicles like the Transition and TF-X could result in significant economic benefits and personal time savings. Preliminary conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about the TF-X concept have demonstrated their willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation. Terrafugia is excited to be nearing production of the Transition and continuing to push the envelope of personal transportation.
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is a growing aerospace company founded by pilot- engineers from MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and investors. The company name is Latin for "escape the earth." Terrafugia’s mission is to build practical flying cars.
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