Is this (finally) our flying car?
May 9th, 2013
03:52 PM ET

Is this (finally) our flying car?

By Doug Gross, CNN

It's one of science fiction's greatest unfulfilled promises, right up there with teleportation and time travel.

And, no, Terrafugia hasn't built us a Tardis or promised to beam us up. But they say they're closer than ever to giving us a flying car.

This week, the Woburn, Massachussetts-based aerospace company announced it has begun feasibility studies on a car capable of vertical takeoffs and landings. The TF-X would be a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, according to the company.

“We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation,” Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich said in a media release. “Terrafugia is about increasing the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of aviation.  TF-X is an opportunity to provide the world with a new dimension of personal freedom!”

Yes, the long-awaited promise of "The Jetsons" may soon become reality.

Lest you think  the company is just getting our hopes up for some cheap publicity, know this - they've already created a flying car of sorts.

The Transition is a street-legal vehicle that's designed to fly in and out of airports. It was successfully flown for the first time in 2009. The second-generation version of the Transition performed a driving-and-flying demo last year.

The new TF-X project comes as work on the Transition shifts "from research and development to certification, production, and customer support activities," the company said.

Terrafugia says it has about 100 orders for the Transition, which goes for $279,000.

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The big difference between the Transition, which is scheduled to hit the market in 2015, and the new flying car is that the TF-X would be able to take off anywhere,  like a helicopter, and not just at an airport.

Its automation systems would make taking off and landing a self-driving process, though the driver would be able to take over manual control at any time.

Terrafugia (Latin for "escape from Earth") says it has had "preliminary conversations" with the Federal Aviation Administration about the TF-X and that the agency has "demonstrated their willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation."

In other words, we might actually get to ride in one someday.

What do you think? Will we see widespread use of flying cars in our lifetimes? Let us know in the comments.

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Filed under: Culture • entrepreneurs • Future • Innovation • Tech
soundoff (1,072 Responses)
  1. vipan kumar

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    I think it would be scary having a machine fly you around. The lack of control would be an issue.

    April 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Reply
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    This will ever happen. People can't drive cars let alone fly. People would die everyday in the millions.TF-X is an opportunity to
    provide the world with a new dimension of personal freedom! I just don't believe it. It would have to be computer driven.

    December 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • anonymys

      aa just shut up,,this will happen,, about twenty years ago or more no one belive that man would fly ,,and now we are,, and now the tecnology is moving forward with speed,, it isnt impossible to make flying cars happen in the future,, so just shut,,, and think for a second,,

      April 15, 2014 at 5:30 am | Reply
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    will it be able to hold the weight of humans

    November 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
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      November 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
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    Good talk in flying cars...

    October 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
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  13. John Polis

    Some needed research to this article. A flying car was marketed quite widely in the United States in the 1950's. Moulton Taylor produced and marketed his car from Longview, Washington. Check it out:

    October 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  14. Name*F.morar

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    August 14, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply

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  16. Florin

    Hi, I am 25years old boy and I have an idea how to build a flying vehecle and I need support to build it I don't have any money to start it but I am really sure that the idea that I have should work I need help I want that this vehecle will by real I know it may work . If you want to know more please contact me and I will by happy to explain , my name is ,Florin phone is 0031(0)613857186

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    For a tiny road vehicle to be safe, it has to be reasonably hefty. That means a lot of weight in attachment gear. The car and the attachment gear all have to be gotten off the ground with reasonable wing loading. (i.e. you'll have big wings). In the end, they've solved the problems already. They are called "cargo planes" into which you put your small car.

    The next part of the problem is the piloting. It is difficult. It requires intense concentration at the start and end of the flight, with boredom in between. There are enough crazy pilots out there doing downwind landings and jumping into the pattern out of turn. Encouraging more crazies is a bad idea.

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  28. curiouscrab

    Technically, couldn't you create a flying car by using the Earth's magnetic field? It would require strong batteries, but if you use electricity you can have electric flying cars that produce no pollution. The only issue is going to fast and/or having lots of weight in one vehicle at a time may have enough inertia to send you hurling toward the sun and into outer space. You'd need to do Math in order to figure out the max speed you could go, though. Maybe an algorithm that the car automatically uses to calculate max speed. Anybody like this idea?

    May 22, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply
    • curiouscrab

      When I say you need string batteries, I'm referring to producing a magnetic resistance using a large electric charge. The magnetic resistance would have to be strong enough to get the car off the ground.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Reply
      • curiouscrab

        *strong, not string

        May 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
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