Well, get excited, because soon, you’ll be able to live out your The Jetsons fantasy. The world’s first flying cars are schedule to go on sale next year, with pre-sales beginning in October. No price has been set yet, but I’m guessing it’ll be more expensive than a Honda Civic.
Terrafugia, which belongs to the parent company Volvo, manufactured the two-seat, hybrid-electric vehicles. The Transition has fold-out wings, landing gear and can switch between driving mode and flying mode in less than a minute. The pioneering models can fly up to 400 miles, with a top speed of 100mph, and a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet. They weigh roughly 1,300 pounds.
Yeah, the Transition looks more like a plane than a car. Some critics have scoffed the vehicle might not be particularly great at either one. (Geez, such buzzkills.) Recent improvements include a new parachute system, rear-view cameras, and a boost mode for extra speed while flying. The Transition meets TSA standards, but consumers will need a pilot’s license and are required to take off and land at airports. So, that’s a bummer. I’m not sure who their demographic for this product is (eccentric millionaires?), but hey, flying cars gotta start somewhere.
Terrafugia’s planned follow-up, the TF-X, is more exciting. This hybrid has the capacity to fit four people, and it’s easier to fly, thanks a computer-controlled system. Passengers input their desired destination, and the aircraft flies and lands by itself. And the best parts, this model is street legal. “The TF-X won’t require an airport for takeoff and landing, and it will drive on all roads and highways – providing the convenience of true door-to-door transportation,” said the company. An artist’s rendering of the TF-X in action is below.
Last July, Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran said, “Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way. We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience.”
Okay, it’s going to be a while before we can cruise around like characters in Blade Runner. But maybe that’s a good thing. In the the comments to Terrafugia’s TF-X video, one person pointed out, “The majority of people have enough problems driving on the ground, let alone up in the air. IMO For this to work the car will have to be 100% fully automated and left out of human control.” And another person pointed out another problem: “Mexicans will be able to fly right over trumps wall.” So true.