The Italian firm Terrafugia isn’t letting all of that hold it back though – it has released new designs for the TF-X, and still in scale testing, they appear to be very classy. It will require no runway to take off, will have a maximum cruising speed of 200 mph and would be able to fly for about 500 miles.
First announced in 2013, the TF-X is a 4-passenger hybrid automobile, which will able to recharge its batteries both from its engine or by plugging in to an electrical charging station. It is going to be sufficiently small enough to get parked inside a regular garage, and will hopefully be street legal.
If you wish to go into flying mode, the wings will fold out, and twin electrical motor pods on the ends will power up and raise the vehicle off the ground using 1 MW of energy. 2 small helicopter-type propellers will give the required thrust when wanted, and are then folded again when the car is cruising on the road.
Flying will be computer operated, so drivers don’t have to worry about knowing how to navigate an airborne car. The Terrafugia website explains that prior to departure, the driver will choose a primary landing zone, plus two backup touchdown zones. If the TF-X calculates inadequate power on board to at least be able to land at one of the two backup landing zones in an emergency, and then make it to the final destination in half-hour, it won’t take-off. It’ll additionally not embark on a flying journey if the weather forecast appears dangerous, or if any of the chosen landing zones are in restricted airspace.
“Operating a TF-X car should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile,” they claim.
Right now, we are still looking at 8-12 years of development for the Terrafugia TF-X. They’re yet to produce a prototype of the design, however they’re about to test a one-tenth scale model at the MIT Wright Brothers wind tunnel in the United States. “The wind tunnel test model will be used to measure drag, lift and thrust forces while simulating hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight,” the company says.
Can’t wait until the video above becomes a reality. Till then, daydream on…