In the 1950s people believed that since technology was developing at an exponential rate flying cars would be the norm in the near future. That idea fizzled out for awhile but is back due to a tech company called Terrafugia whose goal is to combine driving and flying. We’re talking about a street legal car that doesn’t need a runway.
Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved mini-versions of Terrafugia’s flying car for test flights, they’re hopeful the production date for their TF-X™ model will be in 8-12 years. For the cost of a high-end luxury car you’ll be able to travel up to 500 miles at a time with cruise speeds up to 200mph.
Of course, you’ll have to train to obtain something beyond a standard drivers licence but imagine the time you’ll save traveling “as the crow flies”. With the advent of driverless cars and collision detection, flying cars may end up being safer than you’d imagine. There will, however, undoubtedly be logistics that need to be addressed eventually like traffic and parking considerations. Will you be able to hover above Gold’s Gym’s parking lot, spot an unoccupied space, and hover into it? If the wings make the TF-X™ wider than conventional automobiles will it require special parking spaces? That may be getting ahead of ourselves as this car/plane hybrid, at least in the short term, will only be able to land in approved landing zones or airports.
Safety information provided by Terrafugia shows the TF-X™ is backed up with automation which would minimize human error:
- Operating the TF-X™ should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile.
- The TF-X™ will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace.
- The TF-X™ will have a backup full-vehicle parachute system which can be activated by the operator in an emergency if the operator believes the
- TF-X™ to be incapable of auto-landing.
- If a TF-X™ operator declares an emergency (which will automatically notify authorities of the situation), the TF-X™ can be landed in non-approved landing zones.
- If the operator becomes unresponsive, the TF-X™ would automatically implement an emergency auto-land at the nearest airport.
Right now the company is looking for investors so if you want to eventually rise above driving to your gym you may want look into it.
For more information, go to http://www.terrafugia.com/tf-x and check out the video below:
Below: Possible glimpse into flying car future GTA-style: