Traffic can be a real grind. For those travelling between work and home by car every day, the seemingly endless cycle of gas-brake-repeat at a snail’s pace can wear thin.
But commuters of the very-near future may be granted some respite by taking to the skies in a flying car.
The US company behind the concept vehicle TF-X is hoping a prototype will be ready to fly in just two years – and it will go on general sale within eight.
According to Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, a full-size unmanned prototype is expected to be ready by 2018.
The firm’s concept car has fold-out wings with twin electric motors attached to each end.
These motors allow the TF-X to move from a vertical to a horizontal position, and will be powered by a 300 horsepower engine.
Thrust will be provided by a ducted fan, and the vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), along with a 500-mile (805 km) flight range.
Terrafugia said its aim is to provide ‘true door-to-door transportation,’ with the vehicle capable of being parked in a home garage like an ordinary car.
The planned four-person TF-X will be semi-autonmous and use computer-controls so that passengers can simply type in a destination before taking off.
‘The TF-X operator will have final say over whether an approved landing zone is actually a safe place in which to land, and they may abort the landing attempt at any time,’ the company says.
The latest model was unveiled at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Terrafugia has already provided an animation showing how the vehicle would work.
This shows the vehicle taking off by tilting its electric-powered propellers by 90 degrees.
As the vehicle moves to forward flight, the propellers spin around until they are parallel with the vehicle’s body.
When the ducted fan activates, the propellers stop rotating and fold back along the nacelles.
A one-tenth scale model is being tested at the Wright Brothers wind tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The trials will test everything from the drag, lift and thrust forces of the model.
However, Massachusetts-based firm Terrafugia said the TF-X will still be another eight to twelve years in development.
Last year, the same company unveiled a flying car known as the Transition, which has space for two passengers,
It is expected to cost around £183,000 ($261,000) when it goes on sale.
Owners will need a pilot and a driver’s licence to operate the road-legal airplane, in addition to 20 hours of flying time under their belt.
But fulfill those requirements, and you’ll be able to head down a motorway to an airport, and then take off on a conventional runway.
The founding team behind the creation are Carl Dietrich, Samuel Schweighart, Anna Mracek Dietrich, Alex Min – friends from University, and they call the Transition ‘our vision for the future of personal transportation.’
They said: ‘We have been dreaming about flying cars since the turn of the 20th century. The Transition street-legal airplane is the first step on the road to the practical flying car.
‘We’re starting with proven technology and our product road map is designed to make personal aviation progressively safer and more accessible to a broader segment of the population.’
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