A True Hybrid: Half Plane, Half Car
Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 12:25 AM | Jon Foster
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While most car makers are heading in the direction of electric and hybrid vehicles, one car company is taking a much more novel approach. Rather then trying to increase how far their cars can go on the road, Terrafugia, a Boston based company, is attempting to see how fast their cars can get off the ground. That’s right folks; we are talking about flying-cars, and not the ones we see in sci-fi movies.

Starting in 2015, the first ever commercially produced car-plane will be ready for shipment. The Transition, Terrafugia’s flying sedan, is set to revolutionize the way we think about travel. However, not to be outdone by its own expectations, Terrafugia has already begun work on an alternative model to the Transition. Named the TF-X, the concept vehicle will take over where the Transition left off.

Although popular, the Transition has a few limitations. For example, critics have commented that it is more plane then car, due in great part to the fact that it takes-off, taxi’s, and lands like a normal aircraft. In this sense, the Transition to some seems like a plane that you can drive on the street, rather then a car, you can fly in the air. To resolve this, Terrafugia has introduced the TF-X, the first concept car-plane that will take-off and land vertically. 

However, it gets better! According to the Terrafugia website, the TF-X will be able to carry up to 4 passengers, and have a non-stop flight range of at least 500 miles. In addition, the TF-X would be able to take off from a level area as small as 100 ft, fit in your car garage, and obviously drive on roads and highways. Most impressive, the TF-X is expected to boast an automated landing system, as well as a series of in-flight safety features, including but not limited too: a full vehicle parachute, emergency auto-landing response if the driver becomes unresponsive, and a manual override system in the case of inclement weather, or inhospitable landing conditions.

Additionally, Terrafugia has emphasized the simplicity with which their vehicle can be operated, suggesting that, “learning how to safely operate a TF-X vehicle should take an average driver no more than five hours.” Unfortunately for us, the TF-X is still in development, and not expected to be on the market for at least 8-12 years. Until then, if you want to fly a car around you should probably check out the Transition. After all, it’s still a car-plane that’ll make your neighbors jealous. Check out the video below for more details. 

Tags: tech, flying car, Lifestyle