Why drive a car, autonomous or otherwise, if you presumably can fly one That seems to be the question of the day at the Federal Aviation Administration, the place where test flights in U.S. airspace have recently been approved, just at the beginning of this month. The celebrating party is none other than Terrafugia, a company that focuses on airborne automobiles, or better generally known as ‘flying cars’. According to the company, its TF-X flying car will soon be whizzing around skies in northeast America for the purposes of further development and research. “It’s a significant milestone in the development of the program and we’re really excited to be moving forward,” Terrafugia spokesperson Dagny Dukach informed us.
Sadly 😥 , you will not be able to leap in and take one of these vehicles to the skies anytime soon — the prototypes which have been cleared for flight are merely mini versions of the actual cars, or you can say, mini flying cars. Coming in at just two feet long and with a weight limit of 25 kg, it will nonetheless be some time before we’re in Jetsons territory. Nonetheless, this new development marks a huge step forward for development of the technology, as Dukach stated: “The FAA exemption will allow Terrafugia to test the hovering capabilities of a 1/10th scale TF-X automobile and gather flight characteristics data that may drive future design decisions.”
Terrafugia has been flirting with the idea of flying cars for the last ten years or so, and their concept for the TF-X will feature semi-autonomous flight, another feat, which implies that you will need much less training to fly this car than you’d to operate, say, a real plane. Nevertheless there are still quite a few issues that need to be worked out, along with how the automobile would be powered. At present, the company plans for the TF-X to operate as a plug-in hybrid-electrical, however exactly how this may come to fruition has yet to be determined.
If (and hopefully this time it’s not a big if) and once we do finally see the TF-X flying in real life, it will fly at a maximum speed of 320 km/h and will have a maximum flying range of 800 kilometers. And without any runway area needed for take off or landing, you may literally just soar into the skies out of your driveway.
We are very excited as you also might be for self-driving vehicles to hit the consumer market, however we would prefer and are more excited about the flying car to become a reality.